Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to hold up a copy of the trade pact signed by him, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, and President Trump, at Friday’s ceremony, despite the latter urging him to do so.
Trudeau appeared to be in a bit of a feisty mood despite the historic nature of the agreement, along with Trump’s insistence that the two have become ‘great friends.’
Aside from being the only one of the three North American leaders to not hold the document up for a photo op, Trudeau referred to the President as simply “Donald” during the meeting, and repeatedly called the USMCA, Trump’s preferred moniker, the “new North American Free Trade Agreement’ (NAFTA) instead.
Refuses to Hold Up Agreement
Trudeau, despite the President urging each of the world leaders to pose for a photo op, refused to hold up his signed version of the document.
Each of the men signed a copy laid out in front of them, then passed it along to the next to do the same. Upon all three signing, Trump declared, “We might as well hold that up.”
Nieto complied, while Trudeau refused, instead opting to smile for the cameras.
HAPPENING NOW: Pres. Trump, Canadian PM Trudeau and Mexican Pres. Pena Nieto participate in USMCA signing ceremony. https://t.co/0xUvNEWgKR
— ABC News (@ABC) November 30, 2018
Additionally, Trump was caught on a hot mic asking which of the documents “is the one that matters?”
“Each of us get a copy,” Trudeau responded.
During discussion of the tariffs imposed by President Trump on steel and aluminum, Trudeau addressed the leader of the United States simply as “Donald” and not by his proper salutation.
The Canadian PM referenced GM’s announced layoffs saying, “Donald it’s all the more reason we need to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum between our two countries.”
Addressing @POTUS as “Donald,” Trudeau says “we need to keep working to remove the tariffs on streel and aluminum between our countries.”
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) November 30, 2018
The New NAFTA
At the signing ceremony, Trudeau also refused to call the pact the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the President’s preferred name.
He instead called it the “new North American Free Trade Agreement,” something the President has tried to get away from after referencing NAFTA as a “terrible deal.”
It isn’t a minor snub either, as Trump’s insistence on giving NAFTA a new name was a key to negotiations.
A key non-negotiable U.S. requirement in the NAFTA renegotiations was that the revised agreement not be called NAFTA.
— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) October 1, 2018
“The American president was determined to ‘rebrand’ NAFTA,” MSNBC reported. “To that end, the new NAFTA, at the White House’s insistence, will now be called USMCA – for ‘U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement’ – which is vastly more difficult to say.”
Trudeau’s official Twitter account also referred to the deal as the “new NAFTA” shortly after the ceremony.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signs the new #NAFTA with the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, today in Buenos Aires, Argentina. pic.twitter.com/DdxYUEdzb6
— CanadianPM (@CanadianPM) November 30, 2018
Trump Gets the Last Laugh
Despite the Canadian Prime Minister’s antics, Trump seems to have gotten the last laugh when it comes to a power play amongst the leaders.
The Daily Mail reports that Trump used “his large sharpie pen, dwarfing the regular pen used by his North American counterparts” to sign his copy.
Pres Trump, Pena Nieto & Trudeau signed the new NAFTA deal this morning in Argentina.
It appears Trump used a Sharpie style pen while the others used a regular pen.
— Karen Travers (@karentravers) November 30, 2018
Aside from having the biggest pen with the biggest signature, the trade agreement represents a crowning moment for President Trump who often touts his deal-making abilities.
“This is a model agreement that changes the trade landscape forever,” Trump bragged. “This is an agreement that first and foremost benefits working people, something of great importance to all three of us here today.”
Read more at the Political Insider