MONTREAL – Comments made by Justin Trudeau to the United Nations on Tuesday shouldn’t prevent Donald Trump from working with the prime minister should he become U.S. president, says well-known American magazine publisher Steve Forbes.
Hours before the editor-in-chief of Forbes business magazine spoke to a conference of Quebec financiers in Montreal, Trudeau told the UN General Assembly in New York to reject politicians who exploit people’s fears and anxieties.
While never mentioning Trump by name, Trudeau has often criticized the Republican Party’s candidate for president since he became prime minister last year.
Last week during a panel discussion with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, in Montreal, Trudeau told the audience in a somewhat mocking tone he looks forward to working with whoever wins the U.S. presidency. The mayor’s response to the audience — “Does anyone believe that?” — triggered laughs from the crowd.
On other occasions Trudeau has answered questions about Trump by saying Canadians “reject politics of fear and division” and also of “intolerance and hateful rhetoric.”
The Canadian prime minister has also said he “wouldn’t support” Trump and compared him to the late Toronto mayor, Rob Ford.
Trump has called for building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and forcing the Mexicans to pay for it, comments that have drawn the ire of people across the continent.
But Forbes said Trump’s recent encounter with the Mexican president showed the diplomacy of his preferred choice to become the next U.S. leader.
“They had a very good meeting,” Forbes said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “I think that shows Trump will not let past comments get in the way of doing the business at hand.”
The bombastic candidate probably won’t forget the things Trudeau has said, however, Forbes continued, saying Trump “won’t hesitate to take verbal whacks when necessary.”
Forbes, who ran for the Republican ticket for president in 1996 and 2000, has compared Trump to the late co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs.
Jobs was known by his colleagues for living through what they coined as a “reality distortion field,” where he would try to bend the world to fit his ideas and ambitions.
The technological guru often frustrated his employees by pushing them to their limits in order to make seemingly unrealistic deadlines and to create innovative products many thought unrealistic.
“In the case of Trump and the goals he wishes to pursue, the drive to make it happen can be very formidable,” Forbes said.
The publisher added that Trump’s penchant for frequently changing his positions on issues can be an asset because the candidate doesn’t let himself be “pinned down.”
Forbes also defended Trump’s recent flip-flop regarding President Barack Obama’s birthplace.
For years Trump had claimed Obama was not born in the United States but recently admitted the president was indeed born in the country.
Forbes insists it was not racist for Trump to have tried to delegitimize the first black president of America with spurious claims of his birthplace.
He said Trump had “needled” Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz for being born in Canada.
“So Trump didn’t just use it against Obama, he used it against Cruz,” Forbes said. “He would have used it against anyone in order to discombobulate him.”