There have been plenty of twists and turns in the coverage of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s use of blackface in the past but one we probably didn't see coming is U.S. President Donald Trump rendered near speechless.
The Canadian election had the carpet pulled from under it when TIME published a photo of Trudeau from 2001 covered in dark makeup on Wednesday. Since then two more incidents of Trudeau in blackface or brownface have come to light. Trudeau has apologized frequently for the incidents but wouldn’t say there weren’t more out there.
The outspoken U.S. president—who has a long history of racism himself, both before and in the Oval Office—initially remained mum on the subject but, on Friday, when prompted by journalists said he didn’t know what to say.
"I was hoping I wouldn't be asked that question,” said Trump. ”I'm surprised. I was more surprised when I saw the number of times.”
And if that wasn’t clear enough, he added, “I just don't know what to tell you. I was surprised by it."
For the record Trump has defended or said nice things about President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and has dubbed Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un a friend.
It must be noted that this is the first time Trump has referenced the photos and there is still plenty of time for him to tweet and fall off this high road he’s taken.
You can read the rest of VICE’s coverage on the controversy below:
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