Trudeau, Tusk take aim at Trump at close of Canada-EU summit

Clay Curtis
July 19, 2019

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Council President Donald Tusk ended a summit Thursday that was bathed in the symbolism of solidarity with critical words for U.S. President Donald Trump's inflammatory rhetoric towards female congresswomen.

At the summit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada will allocate up to 50 million Canadian dollars (about 38 million US dollars) over the next five years to support Canadian participation in global teams applying for funding through the EU's Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. Tusk noted that he was pleased to be in Montreal, where nobody had chanted to "send him back" to his country.

Tusk said that if something is totally unacceptable, it has to be called out despite the impact it might have on business and trade between Europe and the United States.

Only one of the members that Trump criticized ⁠- Ilhan Omar ⁠- was not born in the U.S. She immigrated to the a refugee at eight years old. They also exchanged views on how Canada and the European Union can work more closely together to reform the World Trade Organization and advance rules-based global trade. "Maybe I'm old-fashioned", said the outgoing European Union leader.

The initial comments made by Trump came on Sunday, as the President sent a number of tweets, believed to be directed at congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.

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He added, "The comments made were hurtful, wrong and completely unacceptable".

When asked about the rally on Thursday, Trump said that he "felt a little bit badly" and didn't agree with the chant.

Trudeau's Thursday comments struck a stronger tone than earlier in the week when before Trump's rally he said that people "know exactly what (he) thinks about those particular comments". In the tweets, Trump implied the four women of colour, should return to the countries "from which they came".

The leaders and their trade minister met Thursday morning to talk up the merits of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, which gives Canadian businesses preferred access to 500 million European consumers and a $24-trillion market in the 28-country bloc. Trudeau questioned with whom the NDP would sign a trade deal if not with Europe, which he cited as having progressive policies for workers and families.

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