Despite a wide generational gap — Mr. Biden is nearly 30 years older than Mr. Trudeau, who is 49 — the two leaders are natural partners with similar political agendas. Mr. Trudeau was the first foreign leader to call Mr. Biden in November with congratulations on his election victory, and the first one Mr. Biden called after his swearing-in last month.
The New Washington
After their meeting, Mr. Biden and Mr. Trudeau delivered statements from the East Room of the White House, where by tradition they would have held a short news conference, taking two questions each. In this case, Mr. Biden spoke from a lectern alongside another video screen showing Mr. Trudeau, and the men did not take questions.
In their statements, Mr. Biden and Mr. Trudeau said they would cooperate not only on climate change but also on the coronavirus, as well as on restoring their respective economies and combating racial discrimination.
Mr. Biden also said that closer cooperation would allow the United States and Canada to more effectively compete with China. And he called on Beijing to release two Canadian men who have been detained in China for more than two years in what was widely perceived to be retribution for Canada’s 2018 detention of a prominent Chinese technology executive at the request of American prosecutors. “Human beings are not bartering chips,” he said.
In his remarks before their meeting, Mr. Biden also said that he saw Mr. Trudeau as an ally in his effort to resurrect the strength and image of democracy worldwide.
“As the leaders of the major democracies, we have a responsibility to prove that democracy can still deliver for our people,” Mr. Biden said, in an implicit reference to countries like Russia and China. “There are a lot of leaders around the world who are trying to make the argument autocracy works better.”