President Joe Biden will host his first bilateral meeting Tuesday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, yet the event will look very different than most events with foreign heads of state.
A senior White House official told reporters that the event will be fully virtual to comply with coronavirus social distancing guidelines.
The official added that, in order to try to replicate the grand scale of normal bilateral meetings, Tuesday’s program will also include a full Cabinet meeting with Biden, Trudeau, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, White House coronavirus adviser Jeff Zients and their Canadian counterparts.
Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss a host of issues, ranging from the coronavirus pandemic and economic cooperation to climate change and broadening defense of the Arctic circle. (RELATED: Biden Admin Pushes Back On World Health Organization’s China Investigation — But What Happens Next?)
Biden’s recent order to block the Keystone XL Pipeline is also expected to breached. Though the move — which killed thousands of jobs in both the United States and Canada — reportedly strained the relationship between the neighboring countries, a senior White House official told reporters that the president was “clear” on his intent to stop the pipeline throughout the campaign and the administration will not reconsider the decision.
Trudeau was caught on a hot mic mocking Biden’s predecessor, former President Donald Trump, at a 2019 NATO meeting, and a Biden administration official said that the president hopes to return to U.S.-Canada relationship to the Obama-era status quo.