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Trudeau says he and Trump hold different views on women

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Prime Minister of the France Manuel Valls take part in a meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has changed his public comments on U.S. politics to distance himself from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, making it clear their views on women are incompatible.

At a news conference on Thursday, Mr. Trudeau initially relied on his usual talking points when he was asked about the recent allegations against Mr. Trump, including two women in the New York Times who have accused him of inappropriate touching.

But Mr. Trudeau then added a dig at Mr. Trump, making it clear they hold different views on women.

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"On the issue of the American election, I've said many times that I will work with whomever the American people elect to be their president," Mr. Trudeau said. "I think, however, that I have been very, very clear in my approach as a feminist, as someone who has stood thoroughly and strongly all my life around issues of sexual harassment, standing against violence against women, that I don't need to make any further comment at this time."

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Mr. Trudeau repeated the same lines in French, confirming that he was deliberately sending out a message to the public at home and abroad.

Standing next to Mr. Trudeau at the news conference was French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who added with a smile: "I agree."

Earlier in the day, Mr. Valls chuckled when asked by reporters at the French embassy if the prospect of Mr. Trump's election frightened him.

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"We were smiling yesterday, with Justin. It's up to the American people, according to the phrase we use, it's up to the American people to decide," Mr. Valls said.

He added he'd want Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to win, and not Mr. Trump.

Mr. Valls noted that he has himself lamented the kind of fractious political populism that has risen across Europe as "the Trumpisation of views in Europe." He drew a link to the leader of France's anti-immigrant, far-right National Front, and its leader, Marine Le Pen.

"The only personality who supports Trump in France is Marine Le Pen," he said, adding that more moderate conservatives want the Republican nominee defeated. "Even the right hope for the election of Hillary Clinton, for the United States itself, as well as for international relations."

He added that that concern about how U.S. international relations might change is particularly sharp when it comes to Russia because of "what appears to have been the role of Russia" in the U.S. election – apparently referring to allegations that Russian state-sponsored hackers have broken into e-mails of U.S. Democrats and leaked them in an apparent attempt to aid Mr. Trump's campaign.

"So as a French political leader, I obviously hope Hillary Clinton will be elected president," he said.

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He chuckled again. "But it is the Americans who vote."

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