Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday to discuss trade, security, and the challenges faced by women in the workforce, among other issues.
Trudeau notably decided not to use the meeting as an opportunity to criticize Trump for his immigration policies publicly.
Trudeau praised the venue for having good weather by Canadian standards at this time of the year. “Any day I get to visit our southern neighbors is a good day in my book, particularly when it’s so nice and warm compared to what it is back home,” he said, referring to the winter storm currently hitting the Atlantic provinces.
The Chicago Tribune played up the contrast between the two leaders going into the meeting:
Trudeau, age 45, and Trump, age 70, have vastly different outlooks of the world.
Trudeau is a liberal who champions free trade and has welcomed 40,000 Syrian refugees. He calls himself a feminist and his Cabinet is 50 percent women. Trump has few women in his Cabinet. He has taken a protectionist stance on trade and wants to crack down on the inflow of migrants and refugees.
Trump’s order to temporarily halt entry into the U.S. by people from seven predominantly Muslim nations, which is tied up in court, might come up during his bilateral meeting with Trudeau. But Trudeau is expected to focus on common economic interests.
The Tribune further highlighted Canadian fears about Trump’s possible renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), noting that “75 percent of Canada’s exports go to the U.S., while 18 percent of U.S. exports go to Canada.”
Initial appearances would suggest that the meeting went well. Trudeau found himself seated next to Ivanka Trump at a U.S.-Canada roundtable discussion of women in the workforce, which “addressed topics such as childcare for working mothers, recruiting and retaining women in the workplace and encouraging a higher level of female entrepreneurship,” according to the White House.