Donald Trump has reacted furiously to footage of world leaders apparently making fun of him, calling Justin Trudeau “two-faced” then cancelling a press conference and cutting short his attendance at a Nato summit.
The US president was asked whether he had seen the clip in which his international counterparts appeared to joke about his explosive press conference with Emmanuel Macron, and his erratic diplomatic style, at Tuesday night’s Buckingham Palace reception.
“You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor!” Mr Trudeau apparently said of Mr Trump while speaking with Boris Johnson, Mr Macron, Mark Rutte and Princess Anne.
“Well, he’s two-faced,” Mr Trump said of the Canadian prime minister when questioned on Wednesday afternoon, and suggested the unguarded comments were based in frustration at US demands that Canada contribute more to Nato.
Speaking alongside Angela Merkel on Wednesday, Mr Trump added: ”Honestly, with Trudeau he’s a nice guy, I find him to be a very nice guy.
“But you know the truth is that I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2 per cent, and I guess he’s not very happy about it.”
Mr Trump continued: “He’s not paying 2 per cent and he should be paying 2 per cent. It’s Canada, they have money and 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.”
The Republican said that after a scheduled meeting with Danish leaders this afternoon he would “probably” return directly to Washington. Joking with a reporter, he said: “Will we discuss Greenland? What do you think? That’s a good one.”
Mr Trump later tweeted to say a planned meeting with Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, would still take place after the Denmark pull-aside.
But he said he would not hold the press conference that had been scheduled for 3.30pm, saying he had now conducted enough of them.
Nonetheless, Nato had had a “tremendous” two days, with leaders pledging to contribute more money to the alliance, Mr Trump insisted. “There’s great spirit.”
The president and his wife, Melania, had previously been due to leave London at 5.05pm this afternoon, following the press conference.
In his own press conference, Mr Johnson dismissed suggestions that he and other leaders had been joking about Mr Trump as “complete nonsense”.
Responding to the question of whether he took the US president seriously, he said: “I don’t know where that’s come from.”
Later on Wednesday, Mr Trudeau attempted to play down the scene caught on video the night before. His “jaw-dropping” remark had related to the president’s announcement that the next G7 summit would be held at Camp David, not his own Mar a Lago resort as he had previously suggested, the Canadian premier said.
“I think every different leader has teams who every now and then their jaws drop at unscheduled surprises, like that video itself for example,” Mr Trudeau told reporters.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies