President Joe Biden reveled in the love of Canada on Friday night, joking he wasn’t going to want to return to the US after his warm welcome in the chilly north.
‘You all keep this up I’m not going to want to go home,’ Biden said after he got a warm round of applause at a gala dinner hosted by Justin and Sophie Trudeau.
The president had a jam-packed day on Friday, including a press conference, bilateral meeting with the PM and an address to Parliament, where he got multiple standing ovations.
The love from Canada constrasts with the issues he faces back in the US: Republicans in Congress are investigating him and his family and he faces a tough re-election campaign. Biden hasn’t formally announced for a second term but said he intends to run.
President Joe Biden and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudea toast during a gala dinner at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa
Biden’s focus at the dinner, however, was on the friendship between the U.S. and Canada.
‘We stand together as friends and as family,’ he said in his toast.
‘This is a hell of a thing to do – a toast with water. By the way, my grandfather would say, if you toast with anything other than alcohol, you have to do with your left hand,’ he noted. Biden doesn’t drink alcohol.
The gala was held at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. The president and Prime Minister Trudeau walked side by side down the red carpet. Old aircraft were on display around them and Canadian mounties led them into the event.
Jill Biden and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau walked behind them. Jill Biden wore a white pants suit. Sophie Trudeau wore a white skirt suit.
Trudeau noted he picked the museum as the dinner’s location because a Canadian astronaut will be part of international crew of Artemis II , the first crewed mission to the Moon since 1972 .
‘We’ll certainly be marking the fact that a Canadian will be heading towards the moon as part of the Artemis two mission and I look forward to that display,’ he said in his welcoming remarks.
US President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau arrive at the gala dinner
Canadian mounties lead President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau into the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum
Trudeau toasted to ‘shared hope to shared prosperity and to the shared peace and security that binds Canada and the United States together as allies as neighbors and most importantly, as true friends.’
A variety of Canada officials and stars attended the gala, including Hayden Christensen, Eugene Levy, and Catherine O’Hara.
Also in attendance were Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, dubbed ‘the Michaels’ by Canadian press.
The two men were freed in September after more than 1,000 days in Chinese custody, after the U.S. effectively dropped charges against Huawei heiress Meng Wanzhou.
The Michaels were arrested in China in December 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng on a U.S. extradition request. Many countries labeled China’s action ‘hostage politics.’
China freed the Michaels just after Meng, Huawei’s chief finance officer and daughter of the company’s founder, reached a deal with the U.S. Justice Department over fraud charges and flew from Canada to China.
The dinner featured performances by the Metis Jiggers, Inuit throat singers, an Algonquin drum group called Eagle River and musician Tyler Shaw.
Menu for Gala Dinner
The gala dinner for President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden featured local foods.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau hosted the event at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum.
Here’s the dinner menu:
— Cedar salt and seaweed crusted rare-seared East Coast yellowfin tuna
— White bean hummus, cucumber, pickled radish and bitter greens
— Flaxseed cracker and lemon parsley emulsion
— Alberta beef braised short rib
— Butternut squash puree and Yukon gold potato pave
— Wildflower honey roasted carrots and fine green beans
— Pelee Island cabernet sauvignon jus
— Wild blueberry and Quebec maple mousse cake
— Screech rum caramel and sweetgrass meringue
— Fresh berries
It was Biden’s first trip to Canada as president and its main purpose was to reassure America’s longtime ally of its importance.
He and Trudeau also emphasized their personal friendship, exchanging warm words, eating ‘friend-chip’ ice cream and getting private time.
The visit started informally when Justin and Sophie Trudeau hosted Joe and Jill Biden for a private gathering at their home on Thursday night.
The president kissed Gregoire Trudeau on the cheek while the prime minister did the same for the first lady when the first couple arrived at Rideau Cottage.
President Biden, who doesn’t drink alcohol, toasted with water
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomes guests to the dinner at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum
Sophie Gregoire Trudeau posted a picture of President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden meeting the Trudeau family – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and children Xavier, Ella-Grace and Hadrien – on Thursday night
The Bidens met the Trudeaus’ three children.
And Trudeau served the president’s favorite dessert: ice cream. It was the ‘friend-chip’ ice cream from a local shop: maple-flavoured with chocolate chips and marshmallows.
Biden’s trip was about 24 hours long. After the gala dinner, he and Jill Biden head to Wilmington, Delaware, to spend the weekend.