American leadership has been “sorely missed” on the world stage, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told President Joe Biden during their first bilateral meeting Tuesday.
Trudeau made the backhanded slight at former President Donald Trump during his virtual meeting with Biden at the White House. Trudeau thanked Biden for returning the U.S. to the Paris Climate Agreement (PCA) and said he looks forward to working with the new administration on a range of issues. Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken have centered the administration’s foreign policy on a message that “America is back,” after four years of what they call Trump’s isolationism. (RELATED: Biden Hosts First Bilateral Meeting As President With Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — Here’s What To Expect)
“Thank you again for stepping up in such a big way on tackling climate change,” Trudeau said in reference to the U.S. return to the PCA. “U.S. leadership has been sorely missed over the past, uh, past years.”
“I have to say, as we’re preparing the join rollout and communique from this one, it’s nice when the Americans are not pulling out all the references to climate change and instead adding them in,” he added.
Trudeau tells Biden that “US leadership has been sorely missed over the past years and I have to say as we are preparing the joint-roll out for this, it’s nice when the Americans are not pulling out all references to climate change” #cdnpoli https://t.co/EGNv9IAJ3F pic.twitter.com/AhDarVSFIx
— Mackenzie Gray (@Gray_Mackenzie) February 23, 2021
Trudeau attended the meeting along with his entourage. Biden attended with Blinken, Vice President Kamala Harris and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, among others.
The event was Biden’s first meeting with a world leader. He has now granted Trudeau the honor of being both his first call to a foreign leader and the first leader he has held a bilateral meeting with.
The pair discussed a range of issues, but discussion of the Keystone XL pipeline featured most prominently, particularly in news reports leading up to the meeting. Biden fulfilled his campaign promise of revoking the construction of the pipeline the day he was inaugurated. Trudeau’s administration supports the pipeline’s construction, however. The leaders did not come to a public agreement on the issue.