US President Donald Trump has once again turned his sights on the Canadian prime minister and this time, it’s more bizarre than ever.
You can read about his other comments and typical bombast regarding Canada at the rally in South Carolina on Monday, which gets into tariffs and boring things, in this Toronto Star article by Daniel Dale. What I want to get into here is a brief 15-second long segment of Trump’s speech which targeted Trudeau because the comments are coming from the leader of Canada’s most important ally and they are… beyond weird. Almost gibberish.
“Canada,” Trump says delivers with gusto before carrying on. “You know, Canada: nice guy, nice guy. Prime minister. Justin. I said, ‘Justin, what’s your problem, Justin?’ So: Canada. O Canada. I love their national anthem. O Canada. I like ours better, however. So. No, Canada’s great, I love Canada.”
The comments, which definitely should be read as insults, don’t really track when transcribed. Instead of devastating takedowns, they read more like what would happen if you tried to get one of those monkeys who know sign language to write some haikus about Canada. Hell, some AI bot could have done better.
So let’s break this down, line by line.
The whole shebang starts with him saying “Canada” like an action hero says his nemesis’s name when they finally meet and prepare to fight. He might as well have just said “Thanos.”
“You know, Canada: nice guy, nice guy.”
- Any businessman who worships at the feet of Gordon Gekko believes that being a “nice guy” is a death sentence in business. It’s basically the worst thing you can call someone you are negotiating with. He may as well just called us “beta cucks.”
- Trump is addressing Canada as a person—as in Mr. Canada, that nice guy from down the street. “That dang Mr. Canada is always cavorting with Ms. Germany from across the way and not inviting me to their condo meetings. Don’t even get me started on Monsieur France, that fucking freak is always inviting Melina over for key parties.”
“Prime minister. Justin. I said, ‘Justin, what’s your problem, Justin?”
We can clearly see that he loves calling Trudeau “Justin.” New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted out that Trump aides say the president calls Trudeau by his first name because he thinks it’s “diminishing.” (He used a similar tactic with Hillary Clinton.)
He follows these up with saying Justin twice in one sentence and claims he asked “Justin” what his problem was—a reference to the two’s previous spat a couple weeks ago. If he actually said this to Trudeau, which is doubtful given his track record, it’s a bit of an odd question given that the Canadian prime minister has been pretty damn clear what his problem is. (He doesn’t like the steel tariffs the US slapped on Canada.) Am I suggesting that Trump might not be a good listener? Perhaps.
“So: Canada. O Canada. I love their national anthem. O Canada. I like ours better, however.”
With breakneck speed, he pivots from Justin’s problem to Canada’s national anthem and how much he loves it, but not as much as the “Star Spangled Banner.” Now, I’m not really all that well versed in Pick Up Culture language but I think this counts as negging, right? Is the president negging us? Over our anthem?
OK, at least he’s given us a word to suggest he’s about to pivot again.
“No, Canada’s great, I love Canada.”
This ending is nice, if you remove it from all context. So. What is addressing here? What is the “no” in respect to? Why did he say this? What does it mean? Is this what it feels like to be negged? Trump’s great, I love Trump.
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This article originally appeared on VICE CA.