Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dropped the diplomatic niceties Friday and said President Trump and his supporters were directly responsible for the clashes in the halls of the U.S. Capitol this week attempting to block the ratification of the 2020 U.S. presidential vote.
It was an unusually blunt statement from the center-left prime minister, who has had an often frosty relationship with Mr. Trump but has typically adopted a more neutral tone in discussing internal matters of Canada’s neighbor and largest trading partner.
“What we witnessed was an assault on democracy by violent rioters, incited by the current president and other politicians,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa Friday.
He added he was encouraged that the occupation of the Capitol was quickly ended.
“As shocking, deeply disturbing, and frankly saddening as that event remains, we have also seen this week that democracy is resilient in America, our closest ally and neighbor,” Mr. Trudeau said. “Violence has no place in our societies, and extremists will not succeed in overruling the will of the people.”
Washington’s Western allies have expressed shock at the events in Washington of the past few days, with some — including German Chancellor Angela Merkel — saying Mr. Trump was guilty of “inciting” the crowds to storm the Capitol.
Mr. Trudeau himself offered a far more measured stand when commenting Wednesday as the riots were unfolding.
“Hopefully everything will return to normal shortly,” Mr. Trudeau said then, adding, “but we’re going to continue to do what we need to do to make sure that Canadians are well-served in our relationship with the United States, regardless of how things unfold.”
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