President Donald Trump reacted to the Justin Trudeau blackface scandal on Friday, speaking to reporters at the White House.
The president said he had hoped that no one would ask about it but said he was surprised by the news.
“I’m surprised, and I was more surprised when I saw the number of times,” Trump said.
He said he continued to have a good relationship with Trudeau, referring to him by his first name.
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Justin,” he said.
Trump and Trudeau have maintained a friendly relationship despite Trudeau’s tendency to portray Canada and himself as much more progressive and tolerant than the United States under Trump.
When asked about Trump’s comment on Twitter telling members of the Democrat “Squad” to “go back” to their home countries, Trudeau condemned them.
“I think the comments made were hurtful, wrong and completely unacceptable,” Trudeau told reporters in July. “I want everyone in Canada to know these comments are completely unacceptable and should not be allowed or encouraged in Canada.”
Trudeau has addressed the blackface controversy multiple times this week in Canada after at least three incidents in which he darkened his skin as part of a costume.
“This is something that I deeply, deeply regret,” Trudeau said Thursday. “Darkening your face regardless of the context or the circumstances is always unacceptable, because of the racist history of blackface. I should have understood that then, and I never should have done it.”