President Obama Cracks Ted Cruz ‘Birther’ Joke at Canadian PM State Dinner
President Obama on Thursday welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the White House, the first time our northern neighbor’s prime minister has visited Washington in 19 years. The visit maybe isn’t surprising, as the two world leaders seem ideologically aligned. “If geography made us neighbors, then shared values made us kindred spirits,” the 44-year-old Trudeau said in a Rose Garden press conference, according to CNN.
“Kindred spirits” may be an understatement, if the two leaders’ constant joking is any indicator. As President Obama introduced Trudeau at the press conference and later at a State Dinner, the two cracked jokes about beer, Republican presidential candidates, Obama’s gray hair, and of course, who’s better at hockey. “No two nations agree on everything,” said Obama in the White House Rose Garden, before adding: “Our countries are no different, but in terms of our interests and values and how we approach the world, few countries match up the way the United States and Canada do… Now, I don’t want to gloss over the very real differences between Americans and Canadians. There are some things we will probably never agree on. Whose beer is better? Who’s better at hockey? Where’s the Stanley Cup right now? I’m sorry, is it in my hometown, with the Chicago Blackhawks?” Trudeau wouldn’t let that one slide, later noting the “high demand” for some Canadian goods, namely Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Patrick Sharp, all Canadians who play or have played for the Blackhawks. At Thursday night’s State Dinner, Trudeau and Obama both got in a few more laughs, even if it was at the expense of a few Republicans running to take Obama’s job. As Obama spoke of the shared values both countries have, providing equality and opportunity to its citizens that allows anyone who works hard to achieve success no matter the “circumstances of your birth,” he took a “birther conspiracy” swipe at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “And we see this in our current presidential campaign. After all, where else could a boy born in Calgary grow up to run for President of the United States?” joked Obama about the Republican presidential candidate. But Obama didn’t stop there and had time for one more takedown of Republican front-runner, Donald Trump. “Where else would we see a community like Cape Breton, Nova Scotia welcoming Americans if the election does not go their way?” asked Obama, according to Talking Points Memo. “And to the great credit of their people, Canadians from British Columbia to New Brunswick have, so far, rejected the idea of building a wall to keep out your southern neighbors. We appreciate that. We can be unruly, I know.” Trudeau kept his jokes aimed squarely at Obama. “May the special connection between our two countries continue to flourish in the years to come, and may my gray hair come in at a much slower rate than yours has,” he said as Obama chuckled, the Washington Post reported. But putting the jokes aside, the visit is another reminder of Obama’s efforts to strengthen relations with some of our closest neighbors. He’s already begun to ease relations with Cuba and now looking north he hopes to lay the groundwork for an even closer relationship than we’ve had in recent decades. “This visit’s been a celebration of the values that we share, as our peoples are committed to the principles of equality and opportunity, the idea that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can make it if you try,” said Obama.
My thanks to @POTUS Barack Obama for the warm welcome today. Sophie & I already feel at home.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 10, 2016