Macron and Trudeau 'caught gossiping about Trump' ahead of Nato summit

4 December 2019, 08:30 | Updated: 4 December 2019, 11:38

By Asher McShane

World leaders Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau were apparently caught making remarks about Donald Trump at the Buckingham Palace NATO reception last night.

In a huddle alongside Princess Anne and Boris Johnson, they were caught on a microphone discussing a '40-minute press conference'. President Trump was not mentioned by name but he had held a lengthy press conference with Mr Macron earlier that day.

Those present for the awkward moment were Mr Macron and Mr Trudeau, with Dutch PM Mark Rutte, Boris Johnson and Princess Anne also nearby.

Mr Johnson asks Mr Macron "is that why you were late?"

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets U.S. President Donald Trump at Winfield House
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets U.S. President Donald Trump at Winfield House. Picture: PA

Justin Trudeau replies: "He's late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top."

The video clip of the chat has been viewed almost four million times since it was posted online.

Boris Johnson has denied suggestions he had been avoiding being seen with President Trump at the Nato summit, ahead of next week's general election.

The Prime Minister spoke as he arrived at at the meeting of military allies at the reception last night.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks prior to the arrival of NATO leaders
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks prior to the arrival of NATO leaders. Picture: PA

The group were at the event last night in celebration of 70 years of the historic alliance of Nato.

Earlier, prior to a meeting between Mr Macron and Mr Trump, a diplomatic flare-up threatened to derail the talks.

The US president earlier denounced a remark by Mr Macron that the alliance was suffering from "brain death" as "very insulting" to other member states

But when the two men met later at the US ambassador's residence in London, Mr Trump acknowledged the need for greater "flexibility" in the way in which Nato responded to global threats.

Mr Macron in turn accepted the US had "over-invested" in the alliance for "decade after decade" - a long-standing gripe of the US leader.

Mr Macron's original comments were prompted by the Turkish offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria - regarded by most Nato members as key allies in the fight against so-called Islamic State (IS).

He complained the US had effectively given the green light for the incursion - withdrawing its troops from the region - without any consultation with European allies, despite the wider consequences.

At a breakfast meeting with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, Mr Trump said it had been a "very, very nasty" statement by the French leader.

Meanwhile, following an evening reception hosted by Mr Johnson at Number 10, a member of the US Secret Service was pictured leaving with a Christmas bauble gifted to leaders.

Each Nato leader was given one of the decorations and invited to hang it from the Downing Street tree.

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