02.13.2017 03:00 PM

This week’s column: what really happened at the Trump-Trudeau meeting

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, freed from captivity at the White House, returns home.

[The scene: the Oval Office. Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump have just completed their photo-op in the Rose Garden. Gerald Butts and Steve Bannon are present to take notes.]

Trump: Wow! I’m exhausted! That photo-op wore me out! [Brightening.] Wanna go check out some peeler bars, Justy? Putin owns a few really good ones here in town! [Pause.] Don’t tell anyone that, okay? It’s a big secret. Big.

Trudeau [Bewildered but polite]: Actually, Mr. President, I was hoping we could discuss bilateral issues, like trade and security…

Trump [Waving his tiny hands around]: Fuck that! That stuff is for Steve and Harold to work out.

Trudeau: Gerald. Not Harold.

Trump: Yeah, whatever. Say, did you see the caboose on whatserface from Fox News? I’d like to grab…

Trudeau [Interrupting]: …actually, sir, perhaps we could discuss your decision to make Sarah Palin ambassador to Canada…

Trump [Howling with laughter]: Isn’t that a hoot? Jesus, she’s dumb as a post, that broad! She’s gonna drain your swamp! She’s gonna drive you crazy! [Trump abruptly stops and grows red in the face.] But she’s not as crazy as those ridiculous pro-terrorist judges who attacked my Muslim Ban…I mean, my executive order on terrorism! Did you see that, Jerry? Huge! 

Trudeau [Looking even more uncomfortable, if that is in fact possible, at this point]: Justin. Yes, Mr. President, but we don’t think it’s appropriate to comment on the internal matters of our allies.

Trump [Exasperated]: Why not? I comment on other countries’ internal stuff all the time! [Eyes Trudeau suspiciously.] So what did you think of my Muslim Ban, I mean, anti-terrorism executive order, Julian? It was the best executive order ever, right? Way better than Obama’s, right? Way.

Trudeau [Slowly, carefully]: Mr. Trump, in Canada, we welcome good people of all faiths and races and backgrounds. We believe that makes us a better nation, sir. [Long pause.] Barring people from Canada because they are Muslims would be unconstitutional and wrong.

Trump [Scowling, looking at Steve Bannon]: Hear that, Steve? The Snow Mexicans want to let in ISIS! [Regards Trudeau.] We might need to put up a wall along the Canada border, there, Johnny. 

Trudeau: It’s Justin. And that would be regrettable, sir, and would hurt both our countries. Every day, we do $2.4 billion in trade – in 2015, nearly $700 billion. Canada is the top customer for most of your states. We are allies and friends and we think it would hurt all of us to put up any kind of a wall.

Trump [Squinting, clearly unhappy]: Ever stay in one of my hotels in Canada, Julius?

Trudeau [Bewildered, befuddled, increasingly exasperated]: No, Mr. Trump, I can’t say I have.

Trump [Jabbing the air with a stubby little finger]: Well, you should! And you should buy some of Ivanka’s stuff at Nordstrom. [Pause.] Okay, not Nordstrom. Sears. [Pause again.] Okay, not there either. But buy her stuff! Stay at my hotel!

Trudeau: The Canadian taxpayer kindly provides my family with a wonderful home, sir. And I have a room at the Canadian Embassy while I am here in Washington. But thank you just the same.

Trump [Dismissive]: So the Brits cancelled my state visit over there. Would’ve been huge. Huge. When is Canada inviting me to speak to your House of Representatives, up there?

Trudeau [Long, long pause. Trudeau and Butts start eyeing the exits]: Mr. President, with the greatest of respect, Canadians were quite fond of your predecessor, and before there is a visit, we think they need more time to get to know you…

Trump [Unimpressed]: How long?

Trudeau [Looking like he’d rather be somewhere else, balancing babies or boxing or taking a selfie with someone, anyone. His shoulders drop. He gives up.] Sir, you should not come to Canada. We think it is a bad idea. We think all 35 million Canadians will come out to protest. Even the babies. In winter.

Trump [Unfazed]: Thirty-five million? That’s how many we had at my inauguration, didn’t we, Steve?

Bannon: Yes, sir! Absolutely, sir. [Bannon examines his limited edition Ku Klux Klan watch.] Sir, it’s bedtime. Shall I ask Kellyanne to tuck you in again, sir?

Trump [Looking bored, yawning, then rising unsteadily to his feet.]: Yeah, okay. Melania hasn’t been around for weeks, anyway. [Looks at Trudeau, who now has his head in his hands.] Steve will show you fellas out. Sure you don’t want to check out some of Putin’s strippers?

Trudeau: We. Are. Sure.

Trump [Walking towards the door.] Well, you should be nice to him, Justy. He’s already checked out your emails, and he likes that Shark Tank guy. The leech girl, too. Says he plans to help ’em win in your next election. 

Trudeau: Good night, Mr. President.

Trump: Good night, Justy.





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    daveconstable says:

    I watched the presser.
    Trump’s opening statement was a bit passive.
    Then Trudeau talked much longer, and I thought Trump was beginning to look sleepy.
    JT did okay…I never liked NAFTA. It’s mostly for investors. But I hope we don’t leave Mexico doing a bilateral alone with Washington.
    (I notice, though, that calls from some South American leaders to Mexico to turn more to the south have been made..)

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    Kevin says:

    Unsteadily. That kind of reference is showing up more and more in commentary. My prediction is it will become even more common.

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    cynical says:

    We’re past this, I hope. It wasn’t a shit-show.
    Here in Canada neither the NDP nor the Conservatives are happy, so JT probably did ok. No obvious submissive acts, no gratuitous moralizing.
    Maybe it’s time to let the adults (cabinet, diplomatic and below) get on with making our relationship with the US work, at a level we can deal with.
    I know I’d have had a great minute watching JT wrestle Trump to his knees with a good old fashioned “Take this, Wimp!” handshake, but the pleasure would be short lived compared to the pain we’d all suffer.
    Make a deal, but don’t sell the farm. Hard to do, and I don’t envy those who have to work the process.
    I’m watching some of the commentary on the Border Preclearance bill, have to admit concern, as did over the FATCA IGA. You can never get the US to work in a way that offers true reciprocity.

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