President Joe Biden reveled in the love from Canada on Friday night, joking that he wasn’t going to want to go home after his warm welcome to the cold north.
“Y’all keep it up, I don’t want to go home,” Biden said after receiving a round of warm applause at a gala dinner hosted by Justin and Sophie Trudeau.
The president had a busy day on Friday, including a press conference, a bilateral meeting with the prime minister and a speech in parliament, where he received numerous standing ovations.
The love of Canada contrasts with the problems he faces in the United States: Republicans in Congress are investigating him and his family and he faces a difficult re-election campaign. Biden has not officially announced a second term but has said he intends to run.
President Joe Biden and Prime Minister of Canada 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 friendship between the United States and Canada.
“We stand together as friends and as family,” he said in his toast.
‘That’s a hell of a thing to do – a toast with water. By the way, my grandfather would say that if you clink glasses with anything other than alcohol, you have to do it with your left hand,” he noted. Biden does not drink alcohol.
The gala was held at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. The President and Prime Minister Trudeau walked side by side on the red carpet. Old planes were on display around them and Canadian Mounties drove them to the event.
Jill Biden and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau walked behind them. Jill Biden wore a white pantsuit. Sophie Trudeau wore a white skirt suit.
Trudeau noted that he chose the museum as the venue for the dinner because a Canadian astronaut will be part of the international crew of Artemis II, the first crewed mission to the Moon since 1972.
“We will definitely mark the fact that a Canadian will head to the moon on the Artemis 2 mission and I look forward to this exhibit,” he said in his welcoming remarks.
US President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau arrive at the gala dinner
Canadian Mounted Police escort President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum
Trudeau toasted “the shared hope for shared prosperity and shared peace and security that unites Canada and the United States as allies as neighbors and, most importantly, as as true friends”.
Various Canadian officials and stars attended the gala, including Hayden Christensen, Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara.
Also present were Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, nicknamed “the Michaels” by the Canadian press.
The pair were released in September after more than 1,000 days in detention in China, after the United States effectively dropped charges against Huawei heiress Meng Wanzhou.
The Michaels were arrested in China in December 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng on a US extradition request. Many countries have called China’s action a “hostage policy”.
China released the Michaels just after Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of the company’s founder, reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice over fraud charges and flew from Canada to China.
The dinner included performances by the Metis Jiggers, Inuit throat singers, an Algonquin drumming group called Eagle River, and musician Tyler Shaw.
Menu for the gala dinner
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden’s gala dinner included local dishes.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau hosted the event at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.
Here is the dinner menu:
— East Coast yellowfin tuna in cedar salt and seaweed crust
— Hummus of white beans, cucumber, pickled radish and bitter vegetables
— Linseed cracker and lemon parsley emulsion
— Alberta Braised Prime Rib
— Mashed Butternut Squash and Yukon Gold Potatoes
— Roasted Carrots with Wildflower Honey and Fine Green Beans
— Cabernet Sauvignon juice from Pelee Island
— Wild blueberry and maple mousse cake from Quebec
— Rum caramel screech and sweetgrass meringue
— Fresh berries
It was Biden’s first trip to Canada as president and his main goal was to reassure America’s longtime ally of his importance.
He and Trudeau also emphasized their personal friendship, exchanging warm words, eating “ami-chips” ice cream and getting some private time.
The visit began informally when Justin and Sophie Trudeau hosted Joe and Jill Biden for a private meeting at their home on Thursday evening.
The President kissed Grégoire 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 does not drink alcohol, grilled with water
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets dinner guests at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau posted a photo 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 evening
The Bidens met with the Trudeaus’ three children.
And Trudeau served the president’s favorite dessert: ice cream. It was friend-chip ice cream from a local store: maple flavored with chocolate chips and marshmallows.
Biden’s trip lasted about 24 hours. After the gala dinner, he and Jill Biden travel to Wilmington, Delaware, to spend the weekend.