Washington / Toronto – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kicked off his first bilateral meeting with President Joe Biden with an indirect attack on his predecessor, Donald Trump, stating that “the leadership of the United States has been missed” in the last years.
Trudeau, along with Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, met virtually with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday in the first bilateral meeting that the US president has had with a foreign leader since he arrived at the White House.
Just logged on to meet with @POTUS @JoeBiden. We’re going to focus on strengthening the partnership between our two countries and putting that bond to work to make life better for families, workers, and small business owners on both sides of the border – stay tuned for more. pic.twitter.com/3kPUYYPvvzRELATED
– Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 23, 2021
Biden said he planned to speak with Trudeau about the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, immigration and refugees and how both countries can “fight for their values on the global stage and strengthen their democracies” internally.
We need a president who is respected on the world stage. pic.twitter.com/Hqv6T06Mtv
– Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 6, 2019
“I hope to see you in person in the future. The United States has no closer friend than Canada, ”Biden said.
At the beginning of the meeting, Freeland stated that Canada was interested in working with the Biden Administration “in conquering the covid and in ensuring that our economies recover quickly.”
“I cannot agree more with what the president has said that we have a responsibility to show that democracy can produce results,” he added.
I look forward to joining Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau this afternoon for my first bilateral meeting as president. The United States and Canada share a unique bond and close friendship – and I’m committed to strengthening our partnership in the years ahead.
– President Biden (@POTUS) February 23, 2021
Subsequently, Freeland addressed Harris in French and said he looked forward to seeing her in Canada “as soon as possible.”
Harris moved to live in Montreal, located in the French-speaking province of Quebec, when she was 12 years old, after her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, was hired as a breast cancer researcher and professor at McGill University.
The vice president responded to Freeland with a “merci beaucoup” in French.
Biden took the opportunity to joke about his limited capacities in other languages when he introduced the director for the Western Hemisphere of the National Security Council of the United States, Juan González, and affirmed that “he usually speaks to me in Spanish but I also have problems.”
“I already told you, Prime Minister, that I took five years of French in college and university. And every time I try to speak it, I am so stupid that I have stopped trying. At least when I try in Spanish and say nonsense they laugh at me, ”Biden said.