Trudeau Says He Won't 'Lecture' Trump on Syrian Refugee Ban

The two leaders also discussed the importance of trade between the U.S. and Canada, and they announced a new initiative for women in business.
Posted at 7:37 PM, Feb 13, 2017

"America is deeply fortunate to have a neighbor like Canada," President Donald Trump said.

"No other neighbors in the entire world are as fundamentally linked as we are," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Trump and Trudeau wanted to set aside their political differences Monday and focus on their mutual dedication to job growth and trade.

But when photographers captured this moment in the Oval Office on Monday morning, social media ran with it as a more apt description of the two men's relationship.

While the two world leaders smiled and shook hands, reporters later confronted them about the issues on which they diverged — especially refugee policy.

"President Trump, you seem to suggest that Syrian refugees are a Trojan horse for potential terrorism, while the prime minster hugs refugees and welcomes them with open arms. So I'd like to know, are you confident the northern border is secure?" a reporter asked.

"You can never be totally confident. ... I think that in the end, everyone's going to be extremely happy, and I will tell you right now, a lot of people are very, very happy right now," Trump responded.

"We continue to pursue our policies of openness towards immigration, refugees without compromising security," Trudeau said.

"Prime Minister Trudeau, you've made very clear that Canada has an open-door policy for Syrian refugees. Do you believe President Trump's moratorium on immigration has merit on national security grounds?" another reporter asked.

"There have been times where we have differed in our approaches, and that's always been done firmly and respectfully. The last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they choose to govern themselves," Trudeau said.

"We have to let people that can love our country in, and I want to do that.  We want to have a big, beautiful, open door, and we want people to come in and come in our country.  But we cannot let the wrong people in, and I will not allow that to happen during this administration," Trump said. 

Trudeau and Trump did announce a new joint initiative to help improve opportunities for women in business. It's called the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. 

"We must work to address the barriers faced by women and women entrepreneurs, including access to capital, access to markets, and, very importantly, access to networks," Trump said.

"In doing so, we'll grow the Canadian and American economies and help our businesses prosper," Trudeau said.

And it appears Trump isn't looking to make major changes to NAFTA — at least when it comes to Canada.

"We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We'll be tweaking it.  We'll be doing certain things that are going to benefit both of our countries.  It's a much less severe situation than what's taking place on the southern border," Trump said.