TV News pundits who had hoped in advance that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would have a Hugh Grant/Love Actually moment during today’s news conference with President Donald Trump were maybe not entirely happy with the results. That said, Trudeau did throw some shade at Trump, if ever so gently by Love Actually standards, when he said Canada hopes to set a positive example to the world about embracing Syrian refugees.
The not-exactly-made-for-the-movies moment came after the two politicians delivered disappointingly boilerplate opening remarks, thanks to Canadian members of the press.
One reporter asked Trump if he is confident in the security of his country’s northern border, given that he has called the Syrian refugee program a Trojan horse for terrorists and Trudeau has let all those Syrian refugees into his country. Trump began talking about the “great job” that DHS Secretary John Kelly has done “taking people that are criminals, very hardened criminals in some cases, with tremendous track records of abuse and problems, and … getting them out … doing what I said I would do when we won by a very, very large electoral college vote.”
He added: “I said at the beginning, ‘We are going to get the really bad ones’ … and that’s exactly what we are doing. And in the end, everyone is going to be extremely happy, and I will tell you right now a lot of people are very happy right now.”
Trudeau, in marked contrast, answered that, while keeping Canadians safe is his government’s fundamental responsibility, “at the same time, we continue to pursue our policies of openness toward immigration, refugees, without compromising security,” noting that his country has welcomed close to 40,000 Syrian refugees in the past year alone.
Another Canadian journalist also took whack at asking Trump his thoughts on Canada’s open-door policy with Syrian refugees.
“We have problems that a lot of people have no idea how bad they are, how serious they are – not only internationally, but when you come right here,” Trump answered. He then began to talk about North Korea (“a big, big problem and we will deal with that very strongly”) and his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“But on the home front, we have to create borders,” Trump continued. “We have to let people that can love our country in, and I want to do that, I want to have the big beautiful open door. … But we cannot let the wrong people in.”
After which, Trudeau said Canadians and Americans “fought and died together on battlefields in World War I and II and Korea and Afghanistan,” but that there have been times “where we have differed in our approach, and that’s always been done firmly and respectfully.”
He continued: “The last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they choose to govern themselves,” saying his responsibility is to “govern in such a way that reflects Canada’s approach and be a positive example in the world.”
For those few who have managed to avoid seeing Love Actually, the 2003 rom-com features what is considered by many, including super-fan Chris Matthews, to be the best news conference in all of filmdom. In that presser, UK Prime Minister Hugh Grant stands next to lecherous POTUS Billy Bob Thornton after catching POTUS making a pass at PM’s secretary/secret crush, and pounds him over the United States’ policy of political bullying.
No word yet from MSNBC’s Matthews, as to what he thought of today’s Trudeau-Trump news conference.