Justin Trudeau should send a gift basket to Donald Trump.
The basket, woven out of Canadian steel and aluminum, could be filled with Kraft Dinner, poutine, a Canada Goose parka and crude oil. And it could be sent to the Capella Hotel in Singapore. That’s where Trump is summiting with Kim Jong Un this week, energized by his layover in Quebec this weekend, where he turned the G7 into a gong show for the ages.
I suppose Trump deserves credit for making an appearance in Canada. It’s clear he would’ve rather killed time in Timbuktu rather than Charlevoix. I’ve seen children looking happier as their sleeves were rolled up inside a flu clinic. Trump doesn’t believe in free trade any more than Kyrie Irving believes the Earth is round. Trump values America’s allies in the same way Meghan Markle now needs Tinder.
If they ever make a movie about this year’s G7 meeting — and the screenplay should be based on Tonda MacCharles’ dazzling reportage — the mystery would be called G6 Versus T1. It would be a barnburner full of geopolitical intrigue.
And the hero would be our prime minister.
I’d like now to apologize for all the rotten things I’ve said about Mr. Trudeau. I take it all back. The next time I’m shopping for hosiery, I will buy him a pair of fancy socks. The next time I’m tempted to criticize his wishy-washy leadership or fixation with celebrity or insufferable obsession with identity politics, I promise to look the other way and instead write about a Kardashian or an insane trend in denim.
I don’t know what Trump and his bootlicking advisers hoped to achieve by launching vicious attacks on our leader over the last 72 hours. But by calling Trudeau “weak and dishonest,” by suggesting he is a duplicitous backstabber for whom “a special place in hell” is reserved, Team Trump’s flyby smears have now united the world behind Justin Trudeau.
I’m getting emails from distant relatives I didn’t even know I had.
The White House has made a hero of our man in office. I haven’t felt this patriotic since Mario Lemieux took a give-and-go pass from Wayne Gretzky and buried the winning goal at the Canada Cup in 1987.
When Andrew Scheer, Doug Ford and Stephen Harper all feel compelled to publicly stand up for a PM they otherwise suspect is an incompetent stooge who poses for selfies while championing future catastrophes, you know Trump has really screwed up. These attacks are such a boon to Trudeau’s image, a conspiracy theorist might reasonably conclude the prime minister paid millions in secret bribes to get Trump to publicly kick him in the gonads so he could revel in the PR windfall. The only way Trump could’ve made Trudeau look better on the world stage is if he faked choking on a burger this weekend and then let Trudeau perform the Heimlich manoeuvre.
But what I still don’t understand is Trump’s motivation.
How could he possibly be outraged by a press conference Trudeau holds during the G7, in which the PM diplomatically parrots points he already relayed to Trump in private? All Trudeau said was Trump’s hardline on tariffs were insulting to Canadians, which they are. He said Canada would not be pushed around, which it won’t. Did Trump think Trudeau was going react to his bonkers protectionist measures by throwing him a birthday party with karaoke and porn stars?
The other explanation for Trump’s tirade came from Larry Kudlow, the president’s top economic adviser. As he told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Trump’s attack on Trudeau was less about trade and more about sending a message to Pyongyang: “He is not going to permit any show of weakness on a trip to negotiate with North Korea.”
Huh? Even that doesn’t make a lick of sense. Instead of being awestruck by Trump’s random bullying of Trudeau, wouldn’t North Korea’s Supreme Leader be gravely concerned by the temperament of a man he once called a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard”? If this is how Trump treats his closest allies, why would Kim Jong Un believe anything he hears at the negotiating table this week, especially after Trump has already pulled America out of existing international agreements? If Trump can turn his sputtering rage on Canada — Canada! — what is to stop him from returning to his Little Rocket Man taunts and tearing up whatever agreement may come this week after he’s collected his Nobel Peace Prize and John Bolton is spoiling for war?
Trump’s needless attack on Trudeau was not a show of strength, as Kudlow and the bootlickers insist. It was proof their boss is a bully with the heart of a coward.
In one G7 photo that sums up the current world order with depressing poignancy, Trump is sitting in a defensive posture, arms crossed, as German Chancellor Angela Markel leans over a table and glares at him. She looks like an exasperated headmistress giving detention to a bratty third grader who was caught hiding a stink bomb in the washroom and vandalizing the school walls with crayon.
One scene – four different perspectives #G7
1) by Merkel‘s team 🇩🇪
2) by Macron’s team 🇫🇷
3) by Conte’s team 🇮🇹
4) by Trump’s team 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/q3qaSfaiQS
— Fabian Reinbold (@fabreinbold) June 9, 2018
Though not visible in the shot, Justin Trudeau has never looked better.