London Children Sing Holiday Tune to Melania Trump – VOA News

London Children Sing Holiday Tune to Melania Trump - VOA News
No apology from PM Trudeau after U.S. President Trump calls him two-faced
First lady Melania Trump joins local students creating holiday decorations at the Salvation Army Clapton Center in London, Dec. 4, 2019. LONDON – London fifth-graders sang “All I Want for Christmas is You” after Melania Trump added to their merriment by joining them to make wreaths and ornaments at a Salvation Army center.

At the facility in the Clapton neighborhood of east London, Mrs. Trump helped attach pine cones to a wreath covered in yellow tinsel.

"I find him to be a nice guy, but the truth is, I called him out on the fact that he's not paying two per cent and I guess he's not very happy about it," said Trump, referring to NATO's target for alliance members' spending on defence. He spoke during a media availability Wednesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The first lady nodded in apparent enjoyment as the pupils serenaded her, then clapped and appeared to say “bravo” when they finished the song.

"I think people know that the relationship between Canada and the United States is deep and goes far beyond the relationship between the prime minister and the president, although I will say, as you all know, we have a very good and constructive relationship between me and the president," Trudeau told reporters Wednesday.

Mrs. Trump also donated presents for the charitys holiday drive, including white baseball caps, white Frisbees and soccer balls all stamped with the logo of her “Be Best” youth initiative.

"He talks about the importance of Indigenous relationships as being a priority in public, but then in a closed door fundraiser with wealthy donors, he mocked and made fun of activists [who] were complaining about a legitimate concern about clean drinking water and mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows," he said.

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not apologize after U.S. President Donald Trump called him "two-faced" in the wake of a video of the PM apparently speaking candidly to other world leaders about the president.

The deal has stalled in the U.S. Congress, where Democrats have been pushing for stricter enforcement measures on its labour and environmental standards. The American labour movement fears U.S. jobs will continue to head south if Mexico doesn't raise wages and bring in collective bargaining in a timely manner.

"Last night, I made a reference to the fact that there was an unscheduled press conference before my meeting with President Trump and I was happy to take part of it, but it was certainly notable," PM Trudeau said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada's relationship with the United States is "extremely strong" — despite President Donald Trump calling him "two-faced" after the Canadian prime minister was caught venting on camera as world leaders gathered in London at the NATO summit.

When reporters pressed Trudeau on the issue, he neither apologized nor confirmed whether he had yet spoken to Trump about the video and its fallout. Instead, Trudeau explained that the remarks caught on camera were simply informing other foreign leaders that Trump had announced the location of the next G7 meeting, Camp David, during an unscheduled press conference.

"The most important thing in the relationship is getting the USMCA passed," he told CBC, using the Americans' preferred title for the new North American free trade agreement. "And we shouldn't be distracted by this kind of stuff. We should get the deal done.

"I think we recognize that there [is], as we talk to G7 leaders, an interest in where the next G7 meeting is going to be and I was pleased to share with them the story of how that came about, that we are going to be gathering, apparently, in Camp David in the coming year for the G7 meeting," said Trudeau.

"At a time when Canada needs strong relationships more than ever, Justin Trudeau's poor judgment, lack of professionalism and love of drama continues to weaken Canada's position on the world stage," Scheer said, as assembled Tory MPs yelled, "Shame!"

"Well hes two-faced," the president said on Wednesday, when asked about the conversation in which Trudeau seemed to make reference to the presidents lengthy, unplanned media availability the day before.

Apart from defence spending, Trump and Trudeau were expected to talk about some high-profile and sensitive files during their sitdown meeting Tuesday, including the detention of two Canadian men in China and the progress of the new North American free trade deal.

Trump went on to speculate about Trudeaus motivation for engaging in the gossip – namely, Canadas failure to meet the recommended defence spending target of 2 per cent of gross domestic product.

On Tuesday, Trump told journalists in a wide-ranging news conference that he's confident Canada will boost its military spending, and jokingly called Canada "slightly delinquent" when it comes to meeting NATO's target for defence spending.

"Trudeau, hes a nice guy. I find him to be a nice guy, but the truth is, I called him out on the fact that hes not paying 2 per cent, and I guess hes not very happy about it. I mean, you were there. A couple of you were there," Trump told reporters.

Before a summit near London, French President Emmanuel Macron had lamented the brain death of NATO due in part to what he called a lack of U.S. leadership. President Donald Trump branded his remarks as very disrespectful. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that Macron himself is brain dead.

"He should be paying more than hes paying. And he understands it. So I can imagine hes not that happy. But thats the way it is."

After making the comments, Trump was recorded talking about them when he appeared to believe he wasnt on the record. According to CTVs Richard Madan, Trumps audio was picked up on a hot microphone belonging to a radio reporter who was travelling with the president.

The atmosphere last night was much more relaxed than what I expected after hearing what had happened over the last 24 hours. But I think differences can arise. We just have to talk about them, Bettel said, referring to receptions late Tuesday at Buckingham Palace and at Downing Street.

In Trudeaus own candid video, the prime minister was speaking to French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Princess Anne, daughter of the Queen.

As long as we are able to deliver substance… then NATO proves once again that we are able to respond to a shifting security landscape, and thats the best way to also provide unity of this alliance, he said before chairing the meeting at a luxury hotel and golf resort.

The video, which was shot during a reception at Buckingham Palace late Tuesday, shows Johnson asking Macron why he was late. In response, Trudeau quips, "he was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top."

Though the president is never mentioned by name, Trump had taken multiple questions from journalists during an unscheduled news conference ahead of meetings with Trudeau, Macron, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

After Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, NATO countries halted their post-Cold War spending cuts and began increasing spending. They pledged to move toward spending 2% of their annual GDP on national defense by 2024.

Trudeau went on to say, without a clear context, that "You just watched his teams jaws drop to the floor."

In his press conference Wednesday, Trudeau explained this part of the conversation as having been a reference to the reaction political staff have to unscheduled announcements.

The infighting is mostly due to Turkeys invasion of northern Syria. Macron has complained that Trump pulled U.S. troops out of the region without warning his NATO allies. Turkey saw the move as a greenlight to send its troops in.

"I think that was an unscheduled announcement, and I think everyones team – every different leader has teams who every now and then have their jaws drop at unscheduled surprises, like that video itself, for example," Trudeau joked.

Johnson said NATOs success is due to the very simple concept of safety in numbers. At the heart of it is a pledge that we will come to one anothers defense: all for one and one for all.

Despite Trudeaus levity when pressed on the viral video, the initial gossiping and Trumps fiery reaction comes as Canada and the U.S. are working to finalize a trade deal – something that could be impacted by a change in diplomatic relations. Still, Trudeau insisted there is no problem in his relationship with Trump.

In London, Trump threatened to launch trade wars against delinquent states not prepared to spend more on arms, then petulantly decided to cancel a press conference – almost certainly to the delight of Johnsons Downing Street, a week before an election – claiming a two-faced Justin Trudeau had joked about him at Buckingham Palace the night before.

"I think people know that the relationship between Canada and the United States is deep and goes far beyond the relationship between prime minister and the president, although I will say, as you know all know, we have a very good and constructive relationship between me and the president," said Trudeau.

This time, diplomacy appears to have succeeded, and Ankara signed up to a new defence plan for Russias nervous western neighbours. But it was an uncomfortable reminder how an increasingly assertive ally – with the second-largest armed forces in the organisation – can exert influence, potentially affecting the security of others far away.

The gossiping and name-calling does come in stark contrast to the mood between the two world leaders yesterday, when Trump said of Trudeau that it was "an honour to be with a friend," and touted their "very good relationship."

But just as the UK debates leaving the EU, Nato is, prompted by Macrons outburst, deciding itself how to strengthen its political dimension – or to put it another way, how it can insulate itself against an erratic US president who nobody is totally sure would defend a fellow ally after the abandonment of the Syrian Kurds.

The prime minister echoed Trumps sentiments yesterday, saying the relationship between Canada and the United States is "is incredibly strong, I dont think its ever been stronger."

Trumps focus, meanwhile, has been on getting other Nato countries to spend more and more on defence. The UK is one of only nine countries to meet the target of spending 2% or more of GDP, but Boris Johnson, eager to keep Trump happy, has already agreed to make real terms increases every year, while China is talked up as a risk.

As party leaders descend on Ottawa ahead of the Parliaments return tomorrow, the political reaction to Trudeaus gossip session began to pour in.

Read more In the end, France pointedly secured in the nine-paragraph post-summit statement recognition that Russias aggressive actions are in essence as important a threat as terrorism in all its forms – an attempt to ensure that the fight against Islamic State is not, as Trump tried to argue last month, over.

"What Ive said often about Mr. Trudeau is that he certainly says some things in public and then says things very differently in private," said Singh.

Singh added that, while he doesnt mind Trudeau criticizing Trump, he does mind the content of that criticism.

Normally this is an arena that would be dominated by Donald Trump, although this time he was somewhat upstaged by Emmanuel Macron, whose pre-summit declaration that the organisation had become brain dead obliged Trump to describe his French counterparts comments as very, very nasty.

"Im concerned in the sense that there are many things to criticize Mr. Trump on, but making the prime minister late to a cocktail party is not one," said Singh.

Post-summit declarations can only go so far. The growing complexity of the organisation required Nato leaders to negotiate with Turkey, which had refused to sign off updated plans to defend the Baltic states against Russia unless Nato agreed to designate the Kurdish Syrian YPG as terrorists.

Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet also weighed in on the issue. During a media availability outside the room where his caucus was meeting on Parliament Hill Wednesday, he said Trudeaus "apparent lack of respect" for Trump "is shopping for some more troubles" with Canadas neighbours to the south.

But the events of the last two days also serve to underline that Nato is becoming an ever more complex organisation whose persistent squabbling means that questions will linger over precisely how effective it would be in the unlikely event collective military defence would ever be required.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with United States President Donald Trump at the start of the a plenary session at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, Saturday June 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

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