President Donald Trump proclaimed a successful trip to London en route back to the U.S. after having earned 'deep respect' from foreign leaders – some of whom were caught on tape appearing to mock him.
Trump scratched a formal news conference with the media and headed straight home to Washington on Wednesday – blasting the press he jilted along the way and talking up his meetings with world leaders.
'The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to belittle my VERY successful trip to London for NATO,' Trump tweeted Wednesday evening while en route to Washington.
'I got along great with the NATO leaders, even getting them to pay $130 Billion a year more, & $400 Billion a year more in 3 years. No increase for U.S., only deep respect!'
Trump was right on the numbers. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who has navigated and to a degree embraced Trump's demands, confirmed the numbers, which include the $400 billion longer-term goal.
But his belief in the 'deep respect' he earned didn't keep him from slapping down Canada's Prime Minister Trudeau, whom he called 'two-faced' shortly before storming out of London after the video had surfaced.
The leaders Trump met with may hold him in high esteem, although some were filmed evidently making cracks at the president's expense.
Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson were caught on a hot mic at Buckingham Palace during a reception gossiping about Trump, in language that appeared less than flattering.
In a clip, the three world leaders seem to be discussing why the French President was late during the London summit – not that being shut out of the in-crowd among foreign leaders will definitely cost the president with American voters.
In the clip, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asks: 'Is that why you were late?' That prompts Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, swigging from his drink, to respond: 'He was late because he takes a 40-minute press conference off the top.'
Trump had speechified and gabbed with the media for a total of 120 minutes on Tuesday.
The video then cuts to a later clip, which is without context, and sees Macron pointing furiously before Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who exclaims 'fake news media.' Trudeau adds: 'You just watched his team's jaws drop to the floor.' He then motions as if his jaw is dropping.
Trudeau claimed Wednesday that his second comment related to learning the upcoming G7 summit will be held at Camp David, Maryland. 'Last night I made a reference to the fact there was an unscheduled press conference before my meeting with president Trump, I was happy to take part in it but it was certainly notable,' he explained.
Other leaders did their best to try to wriggle out of the PR disaster.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the video – said to be captured by freelance cameraman Andy Laurence and handed to broadcasters by NATO – refused to discuss its substance. 'I am not going to comment on stolen videos. That video wasn't supposed to be filmed in that room,' he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pleaded ignorance. 'I really don't know what is being referred to there,' he said.
Said Trudeau: 'We were all surprised and I think pleased to learn that the next G7 will be at Camp David. I think that was an unscheduled announcement and I think everyone's team, every different leader has teams that every now and then have their jaw drop at unscheduled surprises like that video itself for example.'