U.S. President Donald Trump, who once called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “dishonest” and “weak,” now says Canada is “well served” by his leadership.
Mr. Trump congratulated Mr. Trudeau on earning a second mandate Monday, despite having once used the Prime Minister as a rhetorical punching bag.
Congratulations to @JustinTrudeau on a wonderful and hard fought victory. Canada is well served. I look forward to working with you toward the betterment of both of our countries!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2019
“Congratulations to @JustinTrudeau on a wonderful and hard fought victory,” Mr. Trump tweeted shortly after midnight on Tuesday. “Canada is well served. I look forward to working with you toward the betterment of both of our countries!”
Mr. Trudeau lost his parliamentary majority but clung to power, winning the most seats despite losing the popular vote to Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives.
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he wanted to work with Mr. Trudeau to “make North America, the Hemisphere, and the world a more secure and prosperous place.”
“We congratulate Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party on their success in Canada’s recent federal election. Canada’s commitment to democracy is an example to countries around the world,” he wrote. “Our shared history and values have made us the best of friends, most reliable of partners, and strongest of allies.”
The Prime Minister has had an up and down relationship with the mercurial President.
During their first meeting in February, 2017, Mr. Trump appeared charmed by Mr. Trudeau and said the trade relationship between the two countries required only a few “tweaks.”
But as the acrimonious renegotiation of the North American free-trade agreement unfolded, a key campaign pledge of Mr. Trump’s, the President became increasingly enraged at Mr. Trudeau. “Justin, what’s your problem, Justin?” he taunted Mr. Trudeau at a rally in the spring of 2018.
After Mr. Trudeau declared at the June, 2018, Group of Seven summit in Charlevoix, Que., that “Canadians will not be pushed around” by Mr. Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs, Mr. Trump laced into him on Twitter. “PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around.’ Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!” Mr. Trump wrote from Air Force One.
But since the three countries reached a deal last year on NAFTA, now renamed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Mr. Trump has had only nice things to say about Mr. Trudeau. During their most recent Oval Office meeting in June, Mr. Trump vowed to press China on Canada’s behalf over two Canadians detained by Chinese authorities.
Last month when asked about Mr. Trudeau’s history of wearing blackface, Mr. Trump gave an uncharacteristically muted response. “I was hoping I wouldn’t be asked that question,” he said. “I’m surprised. And I was more surprised when I saw the number of times. I’ve always had a good relationship with Justin. I just don’t know what to tell you.”
During the election campaign Mr. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, took the unusual step of endorsing Mr. Trudeau, with whom he has maintained a post-presidential friendship.
“The world needs his progressive leadership now, and I hope our neighbors to the north support him for another term,” Mr. Obama tweeted.
Mr. Trudeau repeatedly refused to say whether he or his campaign had asked for Mr. Obama’s endorsement.
It is unlikely much will change in the U.S.-Canada relationship following the election. Both Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Scheer have vowed to ratify the USMCA. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has called for the deal to be reworked to strengthen labour and environmental provisions, but Mr. Trudeau’s and Mr. Scheer’s parties combined have enough seats to pass the deal without Mr. Singh’s help.
U.S. ratification is being held up by the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. The Democrats want tougher labour and environmental provisions in the pact, as well as less strident pharmaceutical patent protections.
The Democrats are negotiating changes with Robert Lighthizer, Mr. Trump’s trade chief.
“Can’t believe that Nervous Nancy Pelosi isn’t moving faster on USMCA. Her people want it, they don’t know why she isn’t putting it up for a bipartisan vote. Taking too long!” the President tweeted Tuesday.
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