WASHINGTON, D.C. — Credit to Justin Trudeau — he played his hand well. Seeking ways to charm Donald Trump, he hit on the ideal solution — present this most conceited of presidents with a picture of himself.
On their first call, Trump revealed he knew the elder Trudeau — a “dapper dude,” in the words of the president. Hence, when the prime minister arrived at the White House Monday, Trump was handed a picture of himself with Pierre Trudeau at a banquet in New York City in 1981.
Trump was also presented with a beautiful, hand-carved stone lion from the Arms of Canada. It was received without comment, but the president did remark on the picture and Trudeau’s father, “who I knew and respected greatly.”
It proved a propitious gesture that set the tone for a day that went better than anyone in the Trudeau camp could possibly have hoped.
The two men spoke publicly about the things upon which they agreed — trade, security, energy, middle-class jobs — and were resolutely silent upon the things on which they might fall out — the environment, immigration policy, softwood lumber.
Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary had suggested that Trudeau versus Trump would be like Bambi versus Godzilla. In fact, it was more like Winnie the Pooh and Piglet — “We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet; “Even longer,” answered Pooh.