President Joe Biden basked in his love for Canada on Friday night, joking that he was not going to want to return to the US after his warm welcome in the cold north.
“Everybody keep it up, I’m not going to want to go home,” Biden said after receiving a warm round of applause at a gala dinner hosted by Justin and Sophie Trudeau.
The president had a packed day on Friday, including a press conference, a bilateral meeting with the prime minister and a speech to parliament, where he received standing ovations.
Canada’s love is in stark contrast to the problems he faces in the US: Republicans in Congress are investigating him and his family and he faces a tough re-election campaign. Biden has not formally announced a second term, but has said he intends to run.
President Joe Biden and Canadian 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 US-Canada friendship.
“We are together as friends and as family,” he said in his toast.
‘This is a great thing to do – a water toast. By the way, my grandfather used to say, if you toast with something other than alcohol, you have to do it with your left hand,’ he pointed out. Biden does not drink alcohol.
The gala was held at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum. The President and Prime Minister Trudeau walked the red carpet together. Old planes were displayed around them and the Canadian mount led them to the event.
Jill Biden and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau walked behind them. Jill Biden wore a white pantsuit. Sophie Trudeau wore a white skirt suit.
Trudeau said 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 manned mission to the moon since 1972.
“We will certainly mark the fact that a Canadian will go to the moon as part of the Artemis 2 mission and I look forward to that display,” he said in his welcoming remarks.
US President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau arrive for the gala dinner.
Canadian Mounties Carry President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum
Trudeau toasted to the “shared hope of shared prosperity and to the shared peace and security that unite Canada and the United States as allies, neighbors, and most importantly, true friends.”
A variety of officials and stars from Canada 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 the Canadian press.
The two men were released in September after more than 1,000 days in Chinese custody, after the US 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 labeled 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, settled with the US Department of Justice on fraud charges and flew from Canada to China.
The dinner featured performances by the Metis Jiggers, Inuit throat singers, an Algonquin drum troupe called Eagle River, and musician Tyler Shaw.
Menu for the Gala Dinner
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden’s gala dinner featured local foods.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, hosted the event at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum.
This is the dinner menu:
— Cedar Salt and Kelp Crusted, Rare East Coast Yellow Fin Tuna
— White bean hummus, cucumber, pickled radish and bitter greens
— Flaxseed biscuit and lemon parsley emulsion
— Alberta Beef Braised Short Rib
— Butternut squash puree and Yukon gold potato pavé
— Roasted Carrots with Wildflower Honey and Thin Green Beans
— Pelee Island cabernet sauvignon jus
— Quebec Maple and Wild Blueberry Mousse Cake
— Screaming Rum Caramel and Sweet Grass Meringue
— fresh blackberries
It was Biden’s first trip to Canada as president, and his primary goal was to reassure America’s former ally of his importance.
He and Trudeau also emphasized their personal friendship, exchanging warm words, eating ‘friend chip’ ice cream and spending time alone.
The visit began informally when Justin and Sophie Trudeau invited Joe and Jill Biden to a private gathering at their home on Thursday night.
The President kissed Gregoire Trudeau on the cheek while the Prime Minister did the same to the First Lady as the first couple arrived at Rideau Cottage.
President Biden, who does not drink alcohol, toasted with water
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomes dinner guests at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum
Sophie Gregoire Trudeau posted a photo of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden meeting with the Trudeau family, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and children Xavier, Ella-Grace and Hadrien, on Thursday night.
The Bidens met the three Trudeau children.
And Trudeau served the president’s favorite dessert: ice cream. It was the ‘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 head to Wilmington, Delaware, for the weekend.