WASHINGTON – Canada’s prime minister received a shout-out from U.S. President Donald Trump in his first speech Tuesday to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, with a salute to a joint project they recently launched together.
“With the help of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we have formed a council with our neighbours in Canada to help ensure that women entrepreneurs have access to the networks, markets and capital they need to start a business and live out their financial dreams,” Trump said in the prime-time address.
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It’s the third time Trump mentioned the project in public remarks. He appeared at the group’s initial meeting at the White House, raised it during a White House press conference as something he was proud of and again in his state-of-the-union-style speech Tuesday.
The idea for the project came from Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford, who raised it with Ivanka’s husband, White House aide Jared Kushner.
Other elements of the speech that touch on Canadian interests included his promise to build the Keystone XL pipeline and his withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The speech excerpts released earlier Tuesday by the White House made no mention of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he blasted daily during his election campaign and now wants renegotiated.
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Earlier Tuesday, Republicans on Capitol Hill asked about when NAFTA negotiations might begin expressed uncertainty. Although lawmakers are supposed to be involved in the process, they said they hadn’t received direction from the White House yet.