Like a lot of people, I cringed watching this the first time. that 21 seconds of silence felt like an eternity. Why can’t he just mention Trump, I thought to myself. Just do it, you coward! But in the end, I’m glad he didn’t.
If we know two things about Trump, they are that he’s completely unhinged and that he’s a total fucking baby. The smallest perceived slight can become an international incident in the time it takes to send a tweet and flush the toilet. Sometimes that matters less than it does at others, but right now, it matters, unfortunately. We don’t have to like Trump or the rest of his merry band of imbeciles, but at the moment, we need them. We need American cooperation to keep the border restrictions in place and to keep supplies flowing. What we don’t need are more problems to stack on top of the many we already have.
Calling out Trump by name is easy when you’re a guy like me or one of the opposition parties. We’re not the ones who have to take all the phone calls or sit in every meeting. When you’re the Prime Minister, the degree of difficulty increases dramatically. You have to say what you mean, but sometimes you have to say it in a certain way. And when Trudeau did eventually speak, he said just about the best thing he could have said. We’re absolutely concerned about what’s happening down there, but we should also be concerned with getting our own house in order because we aren’t without fault. The only thing he didn’t say were the words Donald and Trump.
There will be plenty of chances to say those words, and those of us who can, should. But right now Trudeau has to choose his words carefully. Even though he didn’t use them specifically, his message was clear. I’m glad he took his time to get it right, awful as it looked in the moment.