While Donald Trump was back in campaign mode, pushing his draconian budget and healthcare bills, favorite daughter Ivanka was in Canada for a “date” with Canadian Prime Minister and international heartthrob Justin Trudeau. Judging by the plot of the play, though, it appears Trudeau may have had another motive for appealing to the First Daughter. The play was about refugees, sort of.
The surprise pairing at the new musical “Come From Away” was rich with symbolism, as Mr. Trudeau tries to maintain his country’s close relationship with the United States despite substantial differences in public policy. Ms. Trump, the president’s daughter and a close adviser, sat in Row F between Mr. Trudeau and Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, and directly behind a former Canadian prime minister, Jean Chrétien.
The play was about a tiny Newfoundland town that gave food and housing to travelers from around the world who were grounded because of the 9/11 attacks. There were no religious tests or telling people that they weren’t welcome because they came from the wrong countries. The stranded passengers were simply treated as human beings. If this same play appeared on Broadway, Donald Trump would likely take it as a personal refutation, and perhaps in a way, it was.
“Come From Away” is written by a married Canadian couple, Irene Sankoff and David Hein, and tells a distinctly Canadian story. The show also depicts the shame that Muslim air travelers feel at being singled out for scrutiny; cheers the welcome given a gay couple in Newfoundland; and features a black passenger worried about being mistaken for a thief and being shot — all issues that have deep resonance during the Trump era, with critics of the new administration skeptical of the president’s understanding of those concerns.
“The world gets to see what it is to lean on each other and be there for each other through the darkest times,” Trudeau said in a brief statement before the play.
Trudeau also emphasized the close ties between our two countries, saying:
“There is no relationship quite like the friendship between Canada and the United States,” he said. “This story, this amazing show, is very much about that, and it’s about friendship as well.”
Source: New York Times
While on the surface things seem like business as normal, the Trump and Trudeau administration have been at philosophical odds since day one. While Trump is halting the refugee program, Trudeau is expanding his.
To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017
Is it possible the invitation was to troll Trump? Absolutely. Ivanka famously swooned over Trudeau during their meeting in February. Who could blame her? Ivanka is also one of her father’s most trusted advisors, so perhaps, as Trudeau might have been thinking, he could start getting there an maybe, somewhere down the line, the message of compassion would reach her father. It won’t, but it’s worth trying.
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images.