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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been caught on camera apparently joking about Donald Trump with other world leaders.
Trump has already hit back – calling the prime minister "two-faced" and claiming he was upset because the president told him to spend 2% of Canada's GDP on defence.
Trudeau, in London for a NATO summit, seemed to be unaware that he was being recorded by a pool reporter at Buckingham Palace.
He can be heard saying “he was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top,” almost certainly referring to Trump.
Holding a drink in his hand, Trudeau then jokes: “Yeah, yeah, yeah… he announced” before the recording becomes inaudible.
Caught gossiping about Trump? 👀— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 4, 2019
Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, Mark Rutte and Princess Anne all appear to be having a jocular conversation about an unnamed associate at a Buckingham Palace reception.
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He was speaking to British prime minister Boris Johnson, French president Emmanuel Macron, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and Princess Anne.
Trudeau was later heard saying: “You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor…” as he gesticulated and smiled excitedly at the other figures in the group.
Macron at one point can be seen wagging his finger as he apparently joins in the joke with Trudeau.
The Prime Minister’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment when asked by Canadian Press.
Trudeau is scheduled to hold a news conference at the end of the NATO summit on Wednesday.
The footage has since spread across the internet and been broadcast by international media such as Fox News and the New York Times, with observers suggesting Trudeau and the other leaders were mocking Trump.
That has prompted questions and concerns about how the mercurial US president will react.
“By this point in his tenure, the prime minister should realize that events with pool cameras need to be approached and managed as on-the-record events,” Andrew MacDougall, former director of communications for prime minister Stephen Harper, wrote on Twitter.
“Hopefully this gaffe doesn’t wind the president up at a sensitive time for NAFTA and the Meng (Wanzhou)/Huawei file.”
Trump had not replied before the start of Wednesday’s closed-door meeting of NATO leaders, tweeting only about having enjoyed his meeting with Johnson during the previous night’s reception.
Trudeau was seen approaching the US president prior to the meeting, where the two shook hands and exchanged a few words before going their separate ways.
While Trudeau has spent much of the past three years trying to establish a good relationship with Trump, the US president has not shied away from lashing out any perceived slight from fellow world leaders.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump slammed Macron for having suggested the NATO alliance was suffering from “brain death” because of a lack of communication and co-ordination, particularly with regards to US and Turkish actions in northeastern Syria.
Trump described Macron’s comments as “very nasty” before criticizing France’s economy and warning the European country needed NATO far more than the US Other NATO leaders have been trying to bridge the divide and keep the alliance strong and united.
The US president also previously attacked Trudeau following the G7 summit in Quebec City in June 2018, describing the latter as “so meek and mild” amid a trade row over Canadian dairy and American tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.