SPECIAL FRIDAY EDITION
A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Weekly Washington Wrap
- Washington welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau to town this week! Keep reading for all the details on the big doings from DC!
- Several states have held Presidential primaries or caucuses over the last week. Over the weekend, Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz picked up wins in Maine and Kansas, while businessman and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump won Louisiana and Kentucky, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio won Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, the Democrats are mixing it up awarding Vermont Senator and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders Nebraska, Maine and Kansas, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Louisiana. On Tuesday, Trump won Mississippi, Michigan and Hawaii, while Cruz won Idaho. Clinton added to her delegate lead by picking up Mississippi, while Sanders surprised pundits by beating Clinton in Michigan.
- Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney read a love letter Ronald Reagan wrote to his beloved wife at the funeral today of Nancy Reagan. It was held at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. Nancy Reagan, who passed away Sunday, was remembered for her supreme loyalty to her husband throughout their 52 years of marriage. She became his devoted caretaker when Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He died in 2004 and is one of the most adored presidents in modern US history. In a 2009 interview, Nancy Reagan said of her husband, “I miss Ronnie a lot, an awful lot. People say it gets better. No, it does not.” Nancy Reagan was 94.
- Yesterday, Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL) announced that he will not be seeking reelection. Miller, who serves as the chair of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, was first elected in 2001.
Jumpy For Justin
Official Washington just couldn't wait for Wednesday and the touchdown of the Trudeaus at Andrews Air Force Base, so the doings got started before they even arrived. On Monday, the Canada Institute at the Wilson Center got the ball rolling hosting John Manley of the Business Council of Canada and former Governor John Engler of the Business Roundtable in a vigorous discussion about the economic strength of the US-Canada bilat – "just ahead of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's historic visit to Washington on March 10" – of course.
Your former US ambassador, David Wilkins, was on hand for the discussion, as was Team Wilkins' Justin Meyers. Speakers included the Director, President and CEO of the Wilson Center, Jane Harman, as well as Laura Dawson, the director of the Canada Institute who moderated the event.
Trudeaus In Town!
You coulda been forgiven this week if you couldn't tell the difference between official Washington and Ottawa -- what with a swarm of official Canadian officials, official Canadian watchers, and countless Americans who really dig Canadians (like, for, example, the "Obama senior staffer" who told Politico that the new Prime Minister is "dreamy" and "he's my new political crush") all hanging on the Trudeau visit to DC.
At any rate, Wednesday finally arrived and with it all the festivities got underway.
Here's some of how Paul Wells covered it in Maclean's:
Fresh from his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base, Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau attended a reception at the Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery, a block from the White House. The 300-odd guests were, overwhelmingly, Canadian, invited by the Ottawa-based Canada 2020 think tank whose president, Tom Pitfield, grew up on Parliament Hill with Justin Trudeau when Pitfield’s father Michael was working as Clerk of the Privy Council for Trudeau’s father Pierre. Many of the guests had travelled to Washington from as far away as Vancouver for this week’s events. Most are Liberal if they have any party affiliation, although I did spot Mulroney-era cabinet minister Perrin Beatty. The Americans were, for the most part, current (Bruce Heyman) or former (David Wilkins, Gordon Giffin) U.S. ambassadors to Ottawa. The finger-food menu included sliders and smoked meat.
Former US ambassador Gordon Giffin, Canadian Chamber CEO Perrin Beatty and David
Wilkins at the Trudeau reception Wednesday night
For his part, Wilkins was delighted to see the aforementioned, as well as Politico's Luiza Ch. Savage, Alberta's new envoy to the US, Gitane De Silva, and former US ambassador Jim Blanchard.
Also, Wednesday it was great to catch up with Elizabeth Dial Pinkerton and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Wilkins attended a luncheon at the US State Department in honor of the Trudeaus hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.
The motorcade for Prime Minister and Mrs. Trudeau lines up in front of the
US State Department Thursday
Look up! Canadian flags flew across Washington, DC this week in honor of
the official state visit of the Trudeaus.
The distinguished event was held in the Benjamin Franklin Room and the VIP crowd included former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and Colin Powell, as well as PNWER's Matt Morrison, CAN/AM's Jim Phillips, current US Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman, and your former US ambassadors to Canada.
Ambassadors in the house! David Wilkins, Gordon Giffin, Bruce Heyman, David Jacobson, Jim Blanchard
Immediately following the State Department luncheon, Wilkins headed over to CTV's DC-based studios where he chatted live about all the doings and the significance of building this bilateral relationship. Wilkins told viewers he thinks it's key the new PM is reaching beyond the president's office and meeting with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
David Wilkins chats with CTV viewers yesterday
Givin' the skinny from CTV-DC
From CTV, it was a mad dash over to the other side of town, and home to CBC's DC studios where our great pal Chris Hall was waiting to chat with Wilkins for CBC's "The House."
CBC's Chris Hall and Wilkins chat state visits and US politics on "The House" which airs
tomorrow on CBC radio.
From there, Chris and Wilkins headed over together to a spectacular locale -- a Washington, DC rooftop where CBC-TV was airing Thursday's Power and Politics just hours before the big State Dinner at the White House. Wilkins participated on a panel hosted by CBC's Rosemary Barton with fellow former ambassadors David Jacobson and Gordon Giffin.
Up on the roof! Three former ambos: Jacobson, Wilkins and Giffin
The CBC gang with a breathtaking view of the White House
Chillin' on the roof: Wilkins and Chris Hall
It was a productive and exciting week for all that will hopefully bear fruit for the US-Canada relationship!
The Timing on Trump
Last weekend, David Wilkins chatted with Global News' Tom Clark about the rise of GOP frontrunner for president, Donald Trump.
Here's some of how the interview played on globalnews.ca:
What once seemed impossible is now looking increasingly likely in the United States as bombastic business mogul Donald Trump cleans up in the primaries and sets his sights on the Republican presidential nomination.
But Republican – and former ambassador to Canada – David Wilkins says it’s still too soon to say if Trump will emerge victorious, and Ottawa shouldn’t be panicking even if he wins.
In an interview with the West Block’s Tom Clark, Wilkins acknowledged that Trump has tapped into a deeply felt discontent among Americans and has leveraged that in a way no other candidate has been able to do. But that, in itself, may not be enough.
“I think it’s way too early to declare Donald Trump the winner, and if he loses Florida and loses Ohio, then you can make a pretty good strong argument that he will not reach the threshold of 1,237,” said Wilkins.
That’s the number of delegates a candidate needs at the party’s national convention to win the nomination. If Trump clears all these hurdles, Wilkins said, then many Republicans still may not back him in the presidential race against whoever is named the Democratic nominee…
Whatever happens, Canada shouldn’t worry too much about a Trump presidency and the possible impact on trade, said the former ambassador.
“I believe a Republican, generally speaking, whether it’s a congressman or whether it’s the president, usually more free-trader, is going to be friendlier to Canada than a Democrat,” he said…
They Said What?
- “There is so much commonality. It’s just like cooking for your brother,” – White House chef Cristeta Pasia Comerford, on the state dinner for the Trudeaus, as reported by the New York Times.
- "I was standing just behind the president in the Rose Garden one morning as he delivered remarks I’d drafted…Although his performance was fluid enough, his pacing was off…For once, I thought, Ronald Reagan was having a bad day. Then a movement on the second floor of the residence caught his eye. He glanced up. Mrs. Reagan was standing at a window. She smiled. The president beamed. She waved. He waved back — then had everyone in the Rose Garden turn around to wave, too. When he returned to his remarks, the President picked up the pace, appearing more involved and energetic. Even — well, younger. A smile and a wave from Nancy. They were all Ronald Reagan needed," – former Reagan speechwriter and Hoover Institute fellow, Peter Robinson, writing in the New York Post, this week on the enduring love of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
- “Just because I’m a woman now doesn’t make me all of a sudden liberal. I would never, ever, ever vote for Hillary… If Hillary becomes president, the country is over," – Caitlyn Jenner on her show "I Am Cait" which highlights transgender issues, regarding her take on Hillary Clinton.
- "…excuse, me. I'm talking…" – Vermont Senator and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders in a verbal slugfest with Hillary Clinton during Sunday's Democratic presidential debate in Flint, Michigan.
- "I wanted to raise the bar in presidential politics," – Ohio Governor and GOP presidential candidate John Kasich in this week's debate regarding what he characterizes as the positive tone of his campaign.
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.