U.S. President Barack Obama began his opening remarks with a few light-hearted jokes about beer and hockey as he welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the White House.
Speaking to a crowd on the White House lawn Thursday, Obama welcomed the young Liberal leader and his wife, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, and noted this was the first visit by a Canadian prime minister in almost 20 years, throwing in a few Canadianisms, including an “eh.”
“We are very proud to welcome the first official visit by a Canadian prime minister in nearly 20 years,” joked Obama. “It’s about time, eh?”
The president continued to show off his comedic chops with saying that although Canada and the U.S. have a close relationship there are a few things the two countries may never agree on.
“There are some things we will probably never agree on. Who’s beer is better, who is better at hockey,” Obama joked. “Where is the Stanley Cup right now? Is it in my hometown with the Chicago Blackhawks?”
Not to be outdone, Trudeau responded by thanking Obama for highlighting the need for strong Canadian “exports.”
“Speaking of exports we know for certainty there is a high demand for Canadian goods down here. A few that come to mind that President Obama rightly recognized as being extraordinary contributors to the American success story is Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks,” Trudeau said to a round of cheers from the Canadian delegation and Canadian ex-pats in attendance.
Patrick Sharp, who won a Stanley Cup with Chicago last season, was traded to the Dallas Stars in the offseason.
The welcoming ceremony featured a military band and the White House was draped in Canadian and U.S. flags.
The sunny and warm weather greeted Trudeau and Obama as both leaders ventured to the edge of the lawn to shake hands with crowds of people, many of them brandishing small U.S. and Canadian flags.
Trudeau’s three-day visit to the U.S. capital began with a meeting with President Barack Obama and ends with a glamourous state dinner featuring a spring theme menu and performances from the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and Grammy-nominated singer Sara Bareilles.
Obama had previously joked that he’d like to casually place the Stanley Cup in the middle of the room during the glittering event.