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Trudeau Says a Trump Reelection Would be a “Step Back”

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After Trump’s big Iowa win, Trudeau is once again warning about the perils of his potential presidency.

But his constant shots at Trump only highlight his own failures on the world stage. While Trudeau virtue signals, Trump actually got things done in 4 years that Trudeau couldn’t manage in 8. 

Now, with Trump charging towards the presidency, Trudeau seems intent on compromising Canada’s relationship with its closest ally and biggest trading partner – just because he can’t hide his contempt for the former president. 

He just can’t seem to stop poking the bear, even when he knows that bear will eventually fight back.

Why does Trudeau seem unable to restrain himself from critiquing Trump, even though it could damage relations with our friendliest ally?

Does Trudeau’s criticism of Trump say more about his own leadership failures and unkept promises? Is this an attempt at distraction more than anything?

Trudeau wasted no time after Trump’s landslide victory in the Iowa caucuses, the first Republican presidential contest of 2024.

The day immediately after, Trudeau felt the need to comment on possible outcomes of the upcoming U.S presidential elections this year, claiming that the U.S. faces a choice between optimism for the future, or nostalgia for a past that never existed, according to Trudeau.

Trudeau made his comments at a breakfast event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.

In the presidential contest, Trump secured the win with 51.1 percent of the votes, with a wide margin in between him and any other Republican candidate in the race.

Trudeau is clearly rattled by Trump’s strong showing in Iowa and the very real prospect that he could return to the White House. So the Liberal Prime Minister is already trying to undermine him.

This is a tired tactic of out-of-touch Liberal elites who can’t seem to grasp Trump’s vision or why it resonates.

Contrary to Trudeau’s characterization, Trump offers a hopeful view of an America reborn – free from the failures and broken promises of the political establishment. 

His motto to Make America Great Again is about restoring the country to its former prosperity and global standing. Trudeau may mock this as nostalgia, but that betrays his lack of insight into why this message connects with working class Americans.

Furthermore, Trudeau has little standing to paint himself as the voice of optimism when his track record is full of scandals and policies that have divided Canadians. His virtue signaling on progressive causes rings hollow while he fails to deliver results at home.

Rather than preaching from his ivory tower, Trudeau would be wise to focus on his own leadership. 

Throw stones at the rising populist movements at your own peril. Trump succeeded in taking on the elites before, and this Iowa result suggests he is well-positioned to do it again. Trudeau should tread carefully rather than interfere in the democratic choices of our American allies.

Trudeau also claimed that a second Donald Trump presidency “won’t be easy,” however he asserted that the federal government is prepared for that possibility.

“It was not easy the first time, I’ll tell you that. And if there’s a second time, it won’t be easy either,” Trudeau said.

“Do they want to be a nation that is optimistic and committed to the future? Or will they choose a step backwards, nostalgia for a time that never existed, a populism that reflects a lot the anxiety and fury that people are going through without necessarily offering solutions?” Trudeau said in response to a question at the Montreal event.

However, what Trudeau deems to be a “step backwards,” is something that over 50% of Republican voters are calling for, a percentage Trudeau can only dream of.

Trudeau begrudgingly admits that he was able to work productively with President Trump during his time in office, despite all the doom and gloom predictions. Trudeau keeps painting Trump’s policies as dangerous and isolationist.

Moreover, his assertions that the Trump movement is based solely on anger, anxiety and nostalgia are condescending and dismissive of the legitimate economic and social grievances driving populist resurgence. 

Millions of Americans support Trump precisely because his nationalist policies offer solutions where establishment leaders like Trudeau have failed.

Trudeau should reflect on why his progressive vision is being rejected rather than throwing shots across the border. 

His smug attitude will probably do little to sway American voters who have grown justifiably weary of out-of-touch elitist politicians telling them what is best for them. 

Trudeau may claim another Trump term won’t be easy, but that likely owes more to their clashing worldviews than any tangible policy differences.

He also claimed that it’s never been easy working with U.S presidents in general, even the likes of Democrats Barack Obama and the current Biden administration. He cited that there were trade disputes during the Barack Obama and Biden administrations related to things like softwood lumber and electric vehicles.

“It’s always a big challenge to work with any American president, even those like Barack and Joe, with whom I have a lot in common,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau is essentially admitting here that dealing with the United States is always difficult for Canada, no matter who occupies the White House. According to him, there were trade conflicts even when supposed ideologically-aligned leaders like Obama and Biden were president.

However, this rings hollow given Trudeau’s constant efforts to portray Trump specifically as an unprecedented threat to Canada-U.S. relations. If challenges are inevitable regardless of president, then his attacks on Trump seem more like political posturing to appease his progressive base.

In reality, the U.S. will always look out for its own interests first when negotiating with other countries. 

That’s more than understandable. Any nation on the Earth’s surface is expected to do that. But the thing is – Canada needs to have spine to firmly defend our interests in return. Sometimes that means driving a hard bargain rather than just agreeing to lopsided deals.

I’d argue that Trump’s unapologetic ‘America First’ stance makes negotiations more honest and transparent in some ways. 

We know exactly where he stands, unlike leaders who flip-flop and say nice things publicly but still undermine allies.

With people like Trump, what you see is what you get, regardless of whether you agree with his views or not.

In the end, Trudeau needs to focus more on obtaining tangible results for Canada rather than lamenting ideological differences with whoever is in the White House.

At the Montreal event where he made his comments, Trudeau also said that the choice facing Americans is similar to one facing voters in Europe and other parts of the world that are experiencing an attack on democracy.

“In two years here in Canada, we’ll have a similar choice,” Trudeau said. “Do we move forward, to defend democracy, our principles? Do we continue to fight climate change, defend individual rights, defend minorities? Or do we go backwards because we’re too angry about everything that’s going on in the world around us?”

Trudeau is basically saying that the populist movements sweeping the globe represent a dangerous democratic backsliding driven by anger, fear and misinformation. He sets up a false choice between his so-called optimism and stability versus the emotions he attributes to populism.

Trudeau essentially paints himself as the hero and savior who is going to protect Canada from all evil.

However, this glosses over the legitimate concerns driving these movements and their supporters’ rejection of the failed status quo that leaders like Trudeau represent. Dismissing dissenters as angry, irrational actors is exactly the kind of elitist attitude that populists rail against.

If Trudeau truly wants to combat disillusionment, he should look inward at his own failed leadership. Censoring and scolding those who disagree is not optimism – it’s anti-democratic. 

While not naming Poilievre directly, Trudeau clearly seeks to lump him in with the global populist “threat.” This is transparently an attempt to tarnish his surging Conservative opponent. But Poilievre’s message clearly resonates with Canadians tired of Trudeau’s lofty rhetoric not matched by results.

On the other hand, when asked about U.S politics, Poilievre took an entirely different approach.

Speaking to Radio-Canada, Poilievre said he had no opinion on the U.S. election.

In contrast to Trudeau’s repeated criticisms of Trump and U.S. politics, Poilievre smartly avoided being drawn into commenting on the U.S. election. He stated he would work constructively with whoever is in power.

“I’m going to work with whoever is president of the United States,” he told host Alex Boissonneault in French.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s Biden, Mr. Trump or whoever else. I’m going to advance the interests of our economy and our security.”

This level-headed response highlights Poilievre’s sensibility and discipline. He understands that as a leader, one must often work with those you may personally disagree with for the greater national interest. 

This restraint is sorely lacking in Trudeau, whose vocal attacks on Trump threaten to undermine Canada-U.S. relations should Trump return to the White House.

Canadians want leaders focused on improving their lives, not virtue signaling in foreign elections. 

And it seems that all roads are leading us away from the likes of Justin Trudeau.

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