It was a meeting focusing on trade, immigration and defence.
But when one of the world’s most progressive, liberal and popular leaders has his first meeting with arguably one of the world’s most reactionary, conservative and divisive, it was always going to be so much more than just that.
And so it was when US President Donald Trump met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Washington on Monday (US time).
While the pair reportedly enjoyed fruitful talks centring on their historically close relationship, most of the attention fell on the sideshow. Namely, a handshake.
The photos which have gone viral since the meeting, shows Mr Trump extending a hand, seemingly inviting Mr Trudeau to shake it, while Mr Trudeau looks at the hand, non-committal, hands clasped and arguably quizzical.
The picture was manna from heaven for the jokers on social media platforms.
— Drew Gibson (@SuppressThis) February 13, 2017
Watch the Shinzo Abe handshake
The end of the 19 second handshake with PM of Japan Abe and Trump.. cringe-worthy! Watch the PM roll his eyes. pic.twitter.com/UCyssLemGM
— M.H.SanFran (@SanFranMoman) February 12, 2017
Then there were those who drew selective comparisons with Mr Trudeau’s meeting with former president Barack Obama.
— Karilynne Davies (@Karilynne3) February 13, 2017
Then there were those who simply couldn’t resist a bit of pure skulduggery.
— Aldo Raine (@Real_Aldo_Raine) February 13, 2017
And Ivanka Trump’s presence during the talks wasn’t missed either.
— Heather Morgan (@HeatherMoAndCo) February 14, 2017
Mr Trudeau also brought a personal gift — a photo of Mr Trump with Mr Trudeau’s father, the late Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau.
Mr Trump said he knew and respected Pierre Trudeau and would keep the photo in a “very special place”.
The two leaders, polar opposites in almost every way, took up the thorny subjects of trade and immigration at their first face-to-face meeting.
“We have a very outstanding trade relationship with Canada. We’ll be tweaking it,” Mr Trump told reporters of the trade relationship.
“We’ll be doing certain things that are going to benefit both of our countries. It’s a much less severe situation than what’s taking place on the southern border.”
At a joint news conference after their meetings, the two emphasised their shared goals. Mr Trump pledged to work with Canada “in pursuit of our many shared interests”.
Mr Trudeau spoke of a special bond and the “deep abiding respect” between the two countries, though he also said that “relationships between neighbours are pretty complex”.
While the two leaders stressed shared interests, their contrasting views were also on display. Responding to questions from reporters, Mr Trump defended his refugee and immigration orders, saying that “we cannot let the wrong people in”.
Mr Trudeau, on the other hand, said Canada continued to “pursue our policies of openness”.
Mr Trudeau later noted that there have been times when the two countries “have differed in our approaches”. But he said “the last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country on how they chose to govern themselves”.
Ivanka front and centre
At a roundtable discussion with female executives from the US and Canada, Mr Trump and Mr Trudeau announced a taskforce focused on women in the workforce.
A great discussion with two world leaders about the importance of women having a seat at the table! 🇺🇸🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/AtiSiOoho0
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) February 13, 2017
Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka attended the meeting and helped recruit participants and set the agenda.
The photo opportunity (above) with Ivanka taking a seat at the Resolute desk in the Oval Office also attracted interest on social media, with some critics upset with the symbolism.
This is stunningly inappropriate. The Oval Office has significance. https://t.co/r60ezaXn4P
— …she persisted. 🗽 (@leahmcelrath) February 13, 2017
What's Ivanka's role in the government again? https://t.co/FBfxr1JVOZ
— dan sinker (@dansinker) February 13, 2017
Ivanka wants all little girls to know: Make sure your rich daddy also had a rich daddy so you can pretend nepotism is activism, too! 🇺🇸🤑🇺🇸💰 https://t.co/uTlRvSON0D
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) February 14, 2017
Mr Trump said it was important to ensure the economy was a place where “women can work and thrive”.
Mr Trudeau stressed that women have had to overcome barriers to succeed in business.
– with AAP