On Friday, Nov. 30, President Donald Trump logged a diplomatic achievement with fellow North American leaders while in Argentina for the Group of 20 (aka G20) economic summit. But a few days after the fact, this video of Justin Trudeau and Trump at the G20 summit is going viral, and it's not hard to see why. Sitting side by side with former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the three world leaders partook in signing a new version of a trilateral trade deal that would continue to facilitate free trade between them and ease ongoing tensions. But the signing, like the deal itself, wasn't all smooth sailings, footage from the event shows.
As the three world leaders swapped copies of their respective documents, video shows, it looks like Trump signs one of the documents incorrectly (using permanent marker), judging by the reactions of his peers and the dignitaries behind them. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment but did not receive a response at time of publication.
"During the signing ceremony, President Trump appears to sign in the wrong place on one of them," tweeted CNN reporter Muhammad Lila, who posted the video that's now gone viral. "This is the exact moment everyone realized, individually with their reactions, including Prime Minister Trudeau."
In the video, the click of cameras snapping photos is the only sound for a moment as the leaders go about their business. Peña Nieto literally does a double take when he seems to notice something is amiss, looking over to his left where Trump's document is, then back to his own, and repeats this a couple times. Behind him, foreign dignitaries overlooking the signing peer over their respective leaders' shoulders with what appears to be concern (or something close to it). Trudeau, for his part, looks straight into the camera with an expression that's best left up to interpretation — and interpret people did.
Users on Twitter immediately began replying with GIFs of Jim from The Office when he reacts by looking into the camera. "You can see Trudeau's soul leave his body at the end," one user commented on Reddit, where the video also went big.
Some people thought of other awkward comedy shows, such as Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Trump can be heard asking his counterparts, "Which is the one that matters?" as he signs the documents. By way of explanation, Trudeau says, "Each of us gets a copy."
It's worth noting that it could be possible the video was edited in a way that doesn't provide the fullest possible context of the moment, and no video can provide insight into what someone's actually thinking. But still, it's hard to deny the facial expressions present on each of the world leaders and their dignitaries as they look on.
As footage of the end of the signing ceremony below shows, Trump and Peña Nieto both hold up their copies of the agreement for the world to see, and it's clear that Trump, while his signature stands out as the only on in sharpie, signed only once on those two documents.
But Trudeau, on the other hand, leaves his copy closed on the desk in front of him and claps along instead. So it's potentially possible that, if Trump did sign one of the three copies incorrectly, it was Trudeau's, hence his not showing it off to the world to spare him the embarrassment.
It's also understandable why the leaders and their aides were stressed out about ensuring this agreement and the countries' coordinated appearance on the world stage was a successful one. The three leaders had already agreed to the text of the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, meant to be a replacement for the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), back in October, and were using the November summit as an opportunity to literally sign off on the documents before they submit them for approval in their respective legislatures back home. The agreement was met with tempered enthusiasm, as Trump's update to NAFTA ended up being fairly close to the original.
But it was a bumpy road getting here. The deal has been a long time coming, and has dragged the trilateral partnership into mayhem. Trump had threatened to leave Canada out of the agreement altogether, and Trudeau on Friday pushed back against the American president's bullying tactics, making it clear that his country wasn't satisfied with the accord, which had failed to remove the sizable steel and aluminum tariffs Trump had installed.
The agreement marked a shift for Trump, who in his two years in office has made a trend of pulling the United States out of international accords rather than leaning into them. So the pressure was on to make it a successful endeavor. It's not clear that his signature fumble — if that's what it was — had any effect on the agreement, but it almost certainly wasn't the intended outcome for the trio of leaders in their collective show of collaboration.