Emmanuel Macron, Boris Johnson and Justin Trudeau have scrambled to wriggle out of their embarrassing diplomatic blunder where they mocked Donald Trump behind his back and caused the humiliated President to quit the Nato summit early.
The three leaders each moved to defuse the friction with their famously thin-skinned US counterpart, who scrapped a scheduled press conference and jetted out of London tonight.
Macron raged that the video – said to be captured by freelance cameraman Andy Laurence and handed to broadcasters by Nato – had surfaced at all and refused to be pressed on the gossip which was caught on hot-mic.
The French premier said: ‘I am not going to comment on stolen videos. That video wasn’t supposed to be filmed in that room.’
Relations between Macron and Trump were already prickly after the French President branded Nato ‘brain dead’ – comments the US leader slammed as ‘very nasty’.
The British Prime Minister pleaded ignorance when grilled by reporters about his part in the Palace gossip circle and said: ‘I really don’t know what is being referred to there.’
Asked if he had been mocking the President, he added: ‘Complete nonsense. I don’t know where that has come from.’
His Canadian counterpart, who was blasted by Trump as ‘two-faced’, also sought to squirm his way out of the awkwardness by insisting that they were not ridiculing the President but merely expressing surprise he chose to announce details of an upcoming G7 summit.
Trudeau said: ‘We were all surprised and I think pleased to learn that the next G7 will be at Camp David. I think that was an unscheduled announcement and I think everyone’s team, every different leader has teams that every now and then have their jaw drop at unscheduled surprises like that video itself for example.’
The Canadian PM had a quiet word and a handshake with Trump as he arrived at the summit on Wednesday, and later tried to shrug off the episode.
He said: ‘As you all know, we have a very good and constructive relationship between me and the President.’
But asked if the gaffe had given him pause for thought, Trudeau said that ensuring the focus of attention remained on matters of substance ‘is something that we’re all going to try to do a little harder.’
After watching the viral clip, Trump tweeted that he would leave the summit without holding a scheduled press conference, bringing an acrimonious end to the military alliance’s 70th anniversary gathering.
The President wrote: ‘When today’s meetings are over, I will be heading back to Washington. We won’t be doing a press conference at the close of NATO because we did so many over the past two days.’
At around five o’clock UK time he boarded Marine One and flew to the tarmac where Air Force One was preparing to take off.
In the bombshell clip, Trudeau makes the most cutting comments, laughing about Trump’s lengthy Q&A sessions with reporters and saying even the President’s staff were shocked at some of his actions.
President Trump boarding Marine One in London to leave NATO earlier than planned after being ridiculed by other world leaders
Mr Macron vented fury that the video, captured by freelance cameraman Andy Laurence, had surfaced at all and refused to be pressed on the gossip which was caught on hot-mic last night
A tense meeting between Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau was captured on camera at the NATO summit in Watford, Hertfordshire Wednesday after Trump was questioned by reporters about Trudeau’s comments caught on a hot mic Tuesday
The British Prime Minister pleaded ignorance when grilled by reporters about his part in the Buckingham Palace gossip circle and said: ‘I really don’t know what is being referred to there’
In the clip, Trudeau makes the most cutting comments, laughing about Trump’s lengthy Q&A sessions with reporters and saying even the president’s staff was shocked at some of his actions
President Trump was asked about Justin Trudeau’s comments at Buckingham Palace Tuesday evening during a one-on-one press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Trump appeared stone-faced as the leaders assembled to pose for a group photograph at the Grove Hotel in Watford
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is pictured grinning with PM Boris Johnson as a stone-faced Trump sits in front
In the video from the reception, which appears to be edited, Trudeau and the other leaders are seen chuckling about Trump while Princess Anne watches on.
‘Complete nonsense’: Boris Johnson denies mocking Donald Trump in ‘hot mic’ incident with Justin Trudeau at NATO summit
Boris Johnson today denied mocking Donald Trump in a ‘hot mic’ incident at the NATO summit – after the US president vented his fury at ‘two-faced’ Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.
Mr Johnson denied knowledge of the extraordinary conversation caught on camera at a reception last night, during which Mr Trudeau appeared to lampoon Mr Trump as other leaders laughed.
At a press conference closing the gathering of the military alliance this afternoon, Mr Johnson was asked whether the group – which also included him, French president Emmanuel Macron and Princess Anne – had been having a ‘joke at the expense’ of Mr Trump.
‘Complete nonsense,’ he said. ‘I don’t know where that has come from.’
It shows Mr Johnson ask: ‘Is that why you were late?’ as he stoops down and chuckles in disbelief, before Canadian leader Trudeau, swigging from his drink, shoots back: ‘He was late because he takes a 40 minute press conference off the top.’
The video then cuts to a later clip, which is without context, and sees Macron pointing furiously before Dutch Prime Minister Rutte exclaims ‘fake news media’ and Trudeau adds: ‘You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor.’ He then motions as if his jaw is dropping.
The President did not look amused when reporters asked him about the video during his meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel.
‘Honestly with Trudeau, he’s a nice guy,’ the president said after a long pause.
He then explained his theory on why Trudeau said what he did, arguing the prime minister mocked him because he gave Trudeau grief during their sit down on Tuesday about Canada not paying enough in fees to be a member of the NATO alliance.
The diplomatic disaster which has cast a shadow over Wednesday’s roundtable talks in Hertfordshire will surely infuriate Johnson, who was hoping the summit would run smoothly so not to distract from his election campaign.
Although he met the President for face-to-face discussions in Downing Street Tuesday night, the PM has been keen not to appear too friendly with the divisive Trump over fears it could put off voters on December 12.
But desperate for his campaign to not be swallowed up by the fallout from Trump storming off, Johnson downplayed his chat with Macron and Trudeau.
He had earlier appealed for unity among Nato heads of government, reminding them that their alliance was ‘all for one and one for all’ in protecting their interests.
Conversations at the Grove hotel in Watford were dominated by the escalating aggression in northern Syria.
However Trump also used the gathering to urge all member countries to ring fence 2 per cent of their GDP for defence spending and pay their NATO dues and specifically singled out Trudeau.
After the mocking video came to light, Trump said: ‘I find him to be a very nice guy but you know the truth is that I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2 per cent and I guess he’s not very happy about it.
Conversation with Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, Mark Rutte and Princess Anne
Boris Johnson: Is that why you were late?
Justin Trudeau: He was late because he takes a 40 minute press conference off the top.
Justin Trudeau: Oh yeah, yeah yeah, he announced…
Emmanuel Macron speaks with his back turned to the camera
Mark Rutte: Fake news media!
Macron touches Rutte’s arm in agreement
Clip jumps to another point in the conversation
Princess Anne speaks with her face hidden from the camera
Justin Trudeau: You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor.
‘He’s not paying 2 per cent, and he should be paying 2 per cent. It’s Canada. They have money. And they should be paying 2 per cent.
‘So I called him out on that, and I’m sure he wasn’t happy about that, but that’s the way it is. Look, I’m representing the U.S. And he should be paying more than he’s paying. And he understands it. So I can imagine he’s not that happy. But that’s the way it is,’ he added.
The pair exchanged words at a photos session for NATO leaders on Wednesday morning but it is unclear what was discussed. Trudeau wouldn’t say when asked about it by Canadian reporters later in the day.
At their Tuesday meeting, Trump noted Canada is ‘slightly delinquent’ in its NATO payments but added: ‘But they’ll be okay. I have confidence.’
‘Some are way below 1 per cent and that’s unacceptable. And then if something happens we’re supposed to protect them and it’s not really fair and it never has been fair and they’re paying up,’ he added.
After his comments, the two leaders engaged in a back-and-forth on how much Canada pays NATO.
‘Well, we’ll put them on a payment plan, right?,’ Trump said of America’s neighbor to the north. ‘I’m sure the prime minister would love that. What are you at? What is your number?’
But Trudeau defended Canada’s payments.
He said that ‘the number we talked about is 70 per cent increase over these past years including and for the coming years, I think including significant investments in our fighter jets, significant investments in our naval fleets. We are increasing significantly our defense spending from previous governments that cut it.’
Trudeau is pictured smiling at Trump, while the US President keeps a very straight face at the NATO summit Wednesday
Trump and Trudeau make small talk during the NATO leaders plenary session in Hertfordshire on Wednesday morning
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would not say at a press conference if he’s apologized to Trump for his remarks
Justin Trudeau, center, Emmanuel Macron, second right, and Boris Johnson, right, have all been caught on a hot mic at the Buckingham Palace NATO reception appearing to gossip about Donald Trump and an apparent impromptu lengthy press conference
In a clip being widely shared online the three world leaders seem to be discussing why the French President was late during the London summit. Princess Anne also appears to be in the discussion, left, but it is unclear if or how she responds
Trump looks serious as he is approached by Justin Trudeau at the summit today, while his Canadian and UK counterparts look more light-hearted
Trump pours over his notes as UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and PM Boris Johnson chuckle behind him
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, leans over to explain something to Trump at the round table meeting
Trump keeps his eyes on his documents as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg talks to NATO leaders
Trump is pictured amid NATO officials before cancelled his last press conference and left the NATO summit in Watford
But Trump wanted a hard number for what Canada pays and asked for it: ‘Where are you now in terms of your number?’
Trudeau said Canada was at 1.4 per cent and ‘continuing to move forward.’
Trump nodded and pointed out ‘they’re getting there. They know it’s important to do that. And their economy is doing well. They’ll get there quickly I think.’
The president has pushed for NATO member nations to pay 2 per cent.
Trump, in his last meeting at the NATO summit, reiterated he was canceling his press conference.
‘This will be actually my last meeting,’ he said during a sit down with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte late Wednesday afternoon. ‘There’s no reason to have press conferences because we’ve had about eight of them so I can’t image you’d have any more questions.’
The president then proceeded to take several questions from reporters, using the opportunity to blast the impeachment hearing playing across televisions screens in America.
‘Frankly it’s a bad thing for the country,’ he said.
NATO leaders assembled for a group photo before Trump announced he would be cancelling any further engagements and flying home
Boris Johnson and Donald Trump shook hands as they appeared on stage together at the NATO summit today
After Johnson sought to play down his relationship with Trump amid the UK General Election campaign, the pair were seen greeting each other on stage
Trump walks the other way as NATO Secretary-General Jean Stoltenberg and Boris Johnson gesture for him to turn around on stage at the NATO summit
The US leader met with Turkish President Erdogan at today’s NATO summit in Watford, which he left after a row over Trudeau’s comments at Buckingham Palace
Donald Trump gestures furiously during a working lunch at the NATO summit at the Grove Hotel in Watford today
President Donald Trump, pictured smiling at a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday, asked him about Canada’s payments to NATO
The ‘naughty schoolboys’ caught mocking Donald Trump: Emmanuel Macron orchestrated the banter at Buckingham Palace while Boris Johnson tried to duck out, says MailOnline body language expert
By Lara Keay for MailOnline
Boris Johnson, Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron behaved like ‘naughty school boys’ as they appeared to gossip about Donald Trump at Buckingham Palace yesterday, a body language expert claims.
The three leaders were caught mocking the US President and his earlier lengthy, impromptu press conferences on a hot mic at the Queen’s NATO reception last night.
A video clip shows Boris asking Macron why was late to the event before the Canadian and French leaders chime in.
But the Prime Minister’s ‘self-diminishing rituals’ as he bends his knees and shrinks down suggest he is happy to duck out and let the others take over, body language expert Judi James tells MailOnline.
Trudeau scans everyone’s faces as he leads the joke and exclaims: ‘He was late because he takes a 40 minute press conference off the top’.
But after he gestures at Macron, the French President takes over ‘leaning forward conspiratorially’ and ‘waggling one finger’ as he enjoys giving his view as part of the gossiping, says James.
Ducking out: Boris Johnson’s ‘self-diminishing rituals’ as he bends his knees and shrinks down suggest he is happy to duck out and let the other leaders take over, body language expert Judi James tells MailOnline
Telling jokes: Trudeau scans everyone’s faces as he leads the joke and exclaims: ‘He was late because he takes a 40 minute press conference off the top’
Trudeau swigs from his drink and gestures towards the French President as if he is passing the baton’ to Macron to give his take on the situation
In the clip, the three world leaders seem to be discussing why the French President was late during the London summit, held to mark the alliance’s 70th anniversary.
None of the men mention Trump by name but Trudeau seems to be referring to the US president’s talks with the media throughout Tuesday.
The video shows Mr Johnson asking: ‘Is that why you were late?’, before Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, swigging from his drink, shoots back: ‘He was late because he takes a 40 minute press conference off the top.’
On Boris, James tells MailOnline: ‘Although Boris appears to orchestrate the humour in the group, bending his knees as he speaks to suggest he’s making the rest of the circle laugh, he soon appears happy to duck out and allow Trudeau and Macron to take over.’
She explains how Trudeau leads the group in giving his views on Trump’s timekeeping and makes eye contact with the whole group to ensure he dominates before ‘passing the baton’ to Macron.
He appears to have a ‘rather naughty sense of humour’ in the way he leads the conversation, she adds.
The expert says: ‘Trudeau is the most active here in terms of conducting the comedy, performing a one steepled brow gesture to show humour and scanning all the faces in the group as he speaks like a man telling a joke and wanting to check everyone is laughing.
‘He even appears to spread the gossip by inviting Macron to join in, nudging him with one hand as though nudging his memory.
‘Trudeau then rubs his nose as Macron joins in and takes over, using this announcement gesture to signal Macron can pick up the baton.’
Macron’s words are inaudible as he is turned away from the camera, but he soon starts gesturing with enthusiasm.
Orchestrating the comedy: French President Mavron takes over the conversation, ‘leaning forward conspiratorially’ and ‘waggling one finger’ as he enjoys giving his view as part of the gossiping
James says: ‘Macron’s gossip style looks pretty pronounced here as he leans forward conspiratorially and waggling one finger as well as looking round furtively in what looks like a bid to check the subject of their conversation is not within earshot.
‘While he and Trudeau appear to be in full flow and when even Princess Anne looks keen to join in, Boris’s signals suggest he’s enjoying the stories but that he might be more cautious about being the one telling them.’
Commenting again on Mr Johnson’s unusual caution, she adds: ‘Boris actually looks like the man being cautious here although he might have been the catalyst to some of the fun.
‘His knee-bending and self-diminishing rituals suggest he might be placing a slightly amusing comment but its the others that then run off with it while Boris begins to scan the room rather than pitching in too hard.’
None of the men mentioned Trump by name but Trudeau seems to be referring to the US president’s talks with the media throughout Tuesday.
He spoke at length to reporters in the afternoon after an awkward press conference with Emmanuel Macron, following on from an earlier and equally lengthy chat after a sit-down with NATO president Jens Stoltenberg in the morning.
Today the leaders have congregated at The Grove Hotel in Watford, Hertfordshire, for the main NATO summit, with Trump storming out after branding Trudeau ‘two-faced’ for his hot mic comments.