An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE LONGEST PAUSE ever during a news conference has made headlines around the world. Questions swirl around Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s instantly famous delay in answering a reporter’s question about his thoughts on President Donald Trump’s handling of the racism crisis in the U.S.
The pause heard ‘round the world, you might say.
Was he caught off guard? Was he just being certain of how to word his answer? Was it deliberate? Did it take him 20 seconds, 21 seconds or 22 seconds to begin answering?
For the record, I clock it at a full 22 seconds. Whatever, it was brilliant.
And it had to be deliberate. Even if it wasn’t deliberate, it was still brilliant.
Trudeau is known for his need to take a moment to formulate his responses to questions, and doesn’t always hit the mark. This time, though, he nailed it.
Keep in mind that if he’d answered with a candid view of the job the strange man south of the border is doing, it would have resulted in an instant response — and not a kind one — from the tweeter who inhabits the White House.
Instead, Trudeau gave him nothing. How do you criticize silence? But the world got the message loud and clear — Trump is a, well, let’s leave it unsaid.
Sure, when you first watch it, it looks awkward as hell. Trudeau appears to squirm a little, offers a slight grimace, exhales in something close to a modest groan, and eventually launches into a typically Trudeau non-answer about our need to learn from our mistakes, blah blah.
If it wasn’t on purpose, he could simply have begun with that instead of standing as if turned into a pillar of salt like Lot’s wife. But there was the pause.
Some days, our prime minister amazes us, and not in a good way. On other days, he helps us to smile. The pause was one of the latter.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.