World takes note of Trudeau, Obama rapport


TORONTO – The new camaraderie between the Obamas and Trudeaus has caught the world’s attention.

News outlets in the United States and beyond are making note of the bonhomie between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Barack Obama and their wives during Thursday’s official visit and state dinner at the White House.

The glitzy event was described as both a “family reunion” and a “cozy affair” as news organizations drew parallels between the two left-leaning world leaders.

Media outlets in the U.K. and China also covered the visit, frequently positioning Trudeau as Obama’s successor as a global champion of climate change and other shared causes.

Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau also came in for attention in the world spotlight.

News outlets reported on her friendly interactions with first lady Michelle Obama, but saved their most breathless coverage for her Canadian-designed wardrobe choices.

“Meet Canada’s Sophie Trudeau, the hottest first lady in the world,” read a headline in the New York Post. The article went on to chronicle Gregoire-Trudeau’s life both before and after she became the prime minister’s wife.

Other profiles of her took a more narrow focus, with articles in both the New York Times and Washington Post devoted largely to her Lucian Matis dinner gown, and punctuated with remarks expressing incredulity that Canada could be home to a fashion scene.

A cheeky tone permeated other aspects of the state dinner coverage. An article in The Guardian said that in Trudeau, Obama had found the Robin to his Batman.

A piece from Gawker, reporting that the two world leaders had posed for pictures with a baby, speculated that their relationship “probably largely involves chatting on the phone during Raptors-Bulls games about their strong jaw lines and stunning virility.”

But the evident rapport between the two received more serious treatment otherwise.

A CNN headline announced that Obama had found “a world leader in his own image,” while The Guardian described the Prime Minister as “a friend to count on” in promoting liberal causes on the international stage.

The banter exchanged between the two was widely covered, with the Daily Mail even posting a story about Trudeau’s words of encouragement to the Obama daughters as they attended their first state dinner.

The joint climate change announcement earlier in the day also drew its fair share of coverage.

Their shared pledge to tackle carbon emissions made the cover of the Alaska Dispatch News and was the focus of China’s Xinhua News Agency’s reporting on the day.

Despite the positive coverage, at least one paper paused to note that Thursday’s state dinner lacked some of the drama to surface at other similar events under the Obama administration.

“Our northern neighbour is a crucial trading partner and loyal military ally, but not a reliable source of bilateral drama or tension,” wrote the Washington Post.

“The evening had none of the import of Obama’s two state dinners for China, or the scandal of his administration’s first state dinner (for India) in 2009, when two aspiring reality-TV stars waltzed uninvited into the White House.