Justin Trudeau on working with Trump: 'He is a little bit unlike many politicians'

Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, spoke about working with President Donald Trump in next week’s cover story of Bloomberg Businessweek.

“I’ve learned that he listens,” Trudeau told Bloomberg editor John Mickelthwait earlier this month. “He’s a little bit unlike many politicians.”

“That might be enough,’ Trudeau added. “Leave that sentence right there.”

The two leaders went toe-to-toe on a call Tuesday amid an escalating fight on trade policy, and Trump’s threats to explore repealing NAFTA.

Trudeau explained that most politicians are coached to say something and “stick with it,” whereas Trump has flip-flopped on issues ranging from China’s currency manipulation, to the effectiveness of NATO, and the US export-import bank.

Trudeau’s explanation for this — keeping in mind that Trump isn’t a standard politician — is that the US president is open to counterarguments.

“[A]rguments win him over,” Trudeau said.

Asked whether he’s the world’s “anti-Trump,” Trudeau told Mickelthwait that he sees the rise of populism — characterised by Brexit, Marine le Pen’s rise in France, and Trump’s impropable election victory — as a “response to the kinds of fears that people are feeling.”

“So my economic approach is very much to allay those fears,” Trudeau said.

Trudeau noted that Canada isn’t immune to the same populist rhetoric sweeping across the West. He says former prime minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government “ran on snitch lines against Muslims,” and “fear-filled narratives.”

Canadians rejected that, in Trudeau’s mind, because he offered a “positive, inclusive, solutions-based alternative.”

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