HENRY DEEDES watches as Donald Trump settles a score
The President tends to go a bit Sicilian when he’s slighted: HENRY DEEDES watches as Donald Trump settles a score
We had flashing lights, ear-piercing sirens, and more whirring helicopter blades than the evacuation of Saigon.
And that was just Donald Trump’s arrival.
By the time the President departed Nato’s 70th anniversary bash yesterday, he left in his wake such a stream of diplomatic mayhem that all that had gone before was but a gentle hum by comparison.
What was supposed to have been the culmination of a celebration of the greatest peace-keeping alliance in modern history had once again been hijacked by the President to settle a score.
On Tuesday, it was French president Emmanuel Macron who got both barrels.
On Wednesday, Justin Trudeau was the target.
The Canadian premier had the misfortune to be caught on video seemingly mocking The Donald in front of Boris Johnson at a reception.
Bad form, yes, but Trump is rather Sicilian when it comes to personal slights.
In a joint interview with Angela Merkel, he seized the opportunity to announce that Trudeau ‘was two-faced’.
Trudeau is pictured smiling at Trump, while the US President keeps a very straight face at the NATO summit in Watford on Wednesday
The Canadian premier (middle) had the misfortune to be caught on video seemingly mocking Mr Trump in front of Boris Johnson at a reception (Dutch PM Mark Rutte and French President Emmanuel Macron also pictured)
Cue yet another diplomatic klaxon.
Oh, and to think the day had been going so swell.
If you’ve never seen the presidential motorcade in full flow, by the way, it really is quite a sight, like some endless millipede of highly buffed cars.
The Moscow State Circus rolls into town with less fanfare.
Humvee follows Humvee. Limousine trails limousine. Then comes a satellite truck. Then an ambulance. Bringing up the rear: two minis filled with half a platoon of trained killers.
Trump arrived at Watford’s Grove Hotel not long after 9.30am, bumptious as ever and with his best saloon-bar swagger.
Boris might have been playing host for the day but there was no doubt who was in charge.
The PM ushered the President up on stage for a team photo – initially in the wrong direction – with the rest of the leaders who were, of course, already in place.
A military piper greeted them with a rendition of Scotland the Brave. Trump, who likes to make a big play of his Scottish roots, came across all emotional.
For a moment I thought we might have a faller in Czech president Milos Zeman, who was hobbling unsteadily on his stick. Not an advert for healthy living, is Zeman. Like Nigel Farage, he enjoys a fag and a cocktail or three.
President Trump was asked about Justin Trudeau’s comments at Buckingham Palace Tuesday evening during a one-on-one press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel
NATO leaders assembled for a group photo before Trump announced he would be cancelling any further engagements and flying home
Prize for most enthusiastic delegate went to Iceland’s Katrin Jakobsdottir, who was bouncing around as though, well, she’d won a prize.
There followed a few rounds of ‘grin and grips’ before the summit proper began. President Erdogan of Turkey was there, more menacing than a Mafia capo, while Macron was gliding smarmily.
Funny how he always seems to be touching someone. An elbow tap here, back slap there. Irritating.
It was just about then that I noticed The Donald’s mood turn. Trudeau was loitering around him, no doubt looking to get his excuses in quick about that damn video footage of him mocking the Prez which had emerged on social media.
The President grew irritated. He looked distracted, growing more peeved by the second.
He engaged the Canadian premier briefly before quickly discarding him the way that a bored dog drops its chewy.
Is this when he decided to diss Trudeau during his post-summit interview alongside the German chancellor? Poor Frau Merkel looked like she’d swallowed a plate.
Trump’s team clearly decided it was a good moment to cut their losses and high-tail it back to Washington on Air Force One without doing any further interviews.
Team Boris, who’d been sweating about the President making election campaign gaffes, were no doubt letting slip a heartfelt sigh of relief.
Donald Trump gets the hump: President attacks ‘two-faced’ Canadian leader Justin Trudeau and leaves Nato summit early
By Larisa Brown for the Daily Mail
Donald Trump dramatically cut short his attendance at the Nato summit yesterday after accusing Canada’s prime minister of being ‘two-faced’.
The US President cancelled a press conference and headed back to Washington after footage emerged of Justin Trudeau and other world leaders apparently gossiping about him.
The embarrassing video showed Mr Trudeau – along with Boris Johnson, French president Emmanuel Macron and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte – standing in a huddle drinking at Tuesday night’s Buckingham Palace reception.
Although Mr Trump was not mentioned by name, they appeared to mock the US President and his long impromptu press conferences earlier in the day.
When asked about the footage and Mr Trudeau at the Nato summit in Watford yesterday, Mr Trump responded: ‘Well, he’s two-faced.’
President Trump boarding Marine One in London to leave NATO earlier than planned after being ridiculed by other world leaders
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is pictured grinning with PM Boris Johnson as a stone-faced Trump sits in front
He also announced he was cancelling a scheduled press conference for later that afternoon, saying: ‘We’ll go directly back. I think we’ve done plenty of news conferences.’
The fractious comments came as Mr Trump braced himself for Congress to hold its first hearing in its ongoing impeachment inquiry.
Although it meant an awkward ending to the summit, the President’s early exit may have been a relief to Downing Street, which had feared a full-scale press conference may have yielded an unhelpful intervention ahead of next week’s election.
Mr Trump added that Mr Trudeau was upset that he had been critical of Canada failing to meet a 2 per cent commitment to defence spending.
‘They should be paying 2 per cent. So I called him out on that, and I’m sure he wasn’t happy about it, but that’s the way it is.
‘Look, I’m representing the US and he should be paying more than he’s paying, and he understands it.’
He said that after a scheduled meeting with Danish leaders, he would ‘probably’ return directly to Washington.
A tense meeting between Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau was captured on camera at the NATO summit in Watford, Hertfordshire Wednesday after Trump was questioned by reporters about Trudeau’s comments caught on a hot mic Tuesday
The British Prime Minister pleaded ignorance when grilled by reporters about his part in the Buckingham Palace gossip circle and said: ‘I really don’t know what is being referred to there’
Boris Johnson and Donald Trump shook hands as they appeared on stage together at the NATO summit today
He then took to Twitter to cancel a press conference planned for 3.30pm, saying that ‘we did so many over the past two days’.
He also praised alliance members for making ‘great progress’ over the past three years and spending more money on defence.
Last night, CNN reported that Mr Trump was also caught on a microphone that had been left on, congratulating himself for his ‘two-faced’ remark.
He says: ‘Oh, and then you know what they’ll say. He didn’t do a press conference. He didn’t do a press conference.
‘That was funny when I said the guy’s two-faced, you know that.’ In his own press conference in the afternoon, Mr Johnson said he had no idea about the discussion at the palace.
‘During the 21-minute conference, he did not mention the President once by name, despite taking repeated questions about him.
Earlier in the day, Mr Johnson had shown his own frustration at Mr Trump’s time-keeping skills.
Mr Trump held up proceedings for several minutes during a televised welcome ceremony at the Grove Hotel in Watford.
‘Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Mr Johnson took the stage together to greet each individual leader with a handshake on stage.
At around five o’clock UK time he boarded Marine One at the Grove Hotel in Watford and flew to the runway where Air Force One was preparing to take off
Trump pours over his notes as UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and PM Boris Johnson chuckle behind him
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, leans over to explain something to Trump at the round table meeting
An aide came out to tell Mr Johnson there was a delay, and he asked how long it would take.
He then gestured to the wall of cameras, saying ‘we’re live now’. ‘A half an hour? Forty-five minutes?’ Mr Johnson joked.
The aide left and emerged a couple of minutes later.
‘How are we doing,’ Mr Johnson asked. ‘Come on!’ The aide then scurried away and Mr Johnson and Mr Stoltenberg began rocking back and forth on their heels.
At 9.50am, Mr Trump emerged. Mr Johnson gestured him towards Mr Stoltenberg and the trio posed for a photo.
On Tuesday, Mr Johnson avoided being photographed with Mr Trump, sparking speculation that he was worried giving the impression of a cosy relationship could derail his election campaign.
Mr Trump’s early departure yesterday followed a three-hour meeting where alliance members discussed Russia and the threat from China for the first time.
Mr Stoltenberg told a press conference that there was a ‘very good atmosphere’ in the meeting despite their differences.
‘We ended the meeting with an applause,’ he said.
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