Virus forces Biden, Trudeau into virtual meeting

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing President Joe Biden to alter another first for his administration: the typically formal White House meeting with a foreign counterpart. Biden hosted virtual talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Feb. 23)

Video Transcript

PRESIDENT BIDEN: Mr. Prime Minister, it's good to see you, and I wish I could reciprocate the hospitality you gave me when I visited Ottawa as Vice President in 2016. The sooner we get this pandemic under control, the better, and I look forward to seeing you in person in the future. The United States has no closer friend, no closer friends than Canada, that's why you were my first call as President, my first bilateral meeting. And of course, my Vice President spent some time [INAUDIBLE] up in Montreal for high school, and so our channel of communication is-- are wide open.

As you know, we have a robust agenda today, and we're all best served when the United States and Canada work together and lead together in close coordination on a full range of issues we're going to discuss-- COVID-19, economic recovery, climate change, refugees and migration, fighting for our Democratic values on the global stage, and strengthening our own democracies at home. We spoke about this at the G7, but it's worth saying again. I believe the leaders of the major democracies-- as leaders of major democracies, we have a responsibility to prove that democracy can still deliver for our people. There are a lot of leaders around the world who are trying to make the argument autocracy works better.

Empowering the full participation of our people, expanding opportunity and equity for everybody, ensuring the benefits of growth are shared broadly, that's how we're going to win the battle for the future. So thank you again, Mr. Prime Minister, for your partnership and your enduring commitment to the US-China relation-- US-Canadian relationship, we're going to talk about China-- and I'm looking forward to a very productive discussion. Floor is yours, Mr. Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU: Thank you very much, Mr. President. It's so good to see you, Joe. And it's such a great opportunity for us to sit down and talk, not just about this extraordinary friendship between our two countries, but all the work we have to do together to get through COVID, but also to keep making sure we're pulling our weight around the world and making the world a better, safer place.

We're stepping up in such a big way on tackling climate change. US leadership has been sorely missed over the past, past years. And I have to say, as, as we are preparing the joint rollout and communique from this one, it's nice when the Americans are not pulling out all references to climate change and instead adding them in. So we're really excited to be working with you on, on that.