LONDON: While NATO leaders are professing unity as they gather for a summit near London, several seem to have been caught in an unguarded exchange on camera apparently gossiping about U.S. President Donald Trump’s behavior.
In footage recorded during a reception at Buckingham Palace Tuesday evening, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was seen standing in a huddle with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Britain’s Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II.
After Johnson asked Macron, “is that why you were late?” Trudeau could be heard saying “he was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top." That appeared to be a reference to Trump’s long and unscheduled question-and-answer session with journalists earlier Tuesday.
Trudeau also said: “You just watched his team's jaws drop to the floor."
Trump wasn’t mentioned by name during the exchange.
Footage of the palace reception was recorded by a pool camera. It was posted online by Canadian broadcaster CBC and has been viewed more than 4 million times.
NATO leaders are meeting Wednesday in Watford, outside London, to mark the 70th anniversary of the military alliance — and to try to patch up differences over defense spending, the alliance’s strategic direction and member nation Turkey’s military action in northern Syria.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump called Justin Trudeau “two-faced” on Wednesday after the Canadian Prime Minister appeared to be caught on camera joking about his press appearances during a chat with other leaders at a NATO summit in Britain.
He suggested that Trudeau was upset because he had challenged him for failing to meet the target of spending 2% of national output on defense.
“I find him to be a very nice guy but you know the truth is that I called him out over the fact that he’s not paying 2% and I can see he’s not very happy about it,” Trump said at a news conference alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Trump later appeared to make light of his own remarks about Trudeau.
“That was funny when I said the guy’s two-faced,” the president was caught saying on an audio clip following a lunch with some of the NATO leaders.
At a final news conference, Trudeau played down the incident, saying he and Trump had enjoyed a great meeting and that the jaw-dropping comment was a reference to the announcement of the location of the next meeting of G7 leaders at the US presidential retreat, Camp David.
“Last night, I made a reference to the fact there was an unscheduled press conference before my meeting with President Trump, I was happy to take part in it but it was certainly notable,” Trudeau told reporters.
“We were all surprised and I think pleased to learn that the next G7 will be at Camp David, I think that was an unscheduled announcement and... I think every different leader has teams who every now and then their jaws drop at unscheduled surprises, like that video itself for example.”