Trudeau was asked to comment on Trump’s call for military action to deal with the protests that have spread across the U.S. following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week. Floyd, a Black man, died after a white police officer knelt on his neck.
Trudeau appeared to collect his thoughts for about 20 seconds.
Then, he said: “We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States. It is a time to pull people together but it is a time to listen, to learn what injustices continue despite progress over years and decades.”
Check out the video here:
People on Twitter had a range of ideas interpreting the pause.
Many thought Trudeau was being careful in choosing his words in a bid not to anger Trump, given how the U.S. is Canada’s neighbor and trade partner.
Some suggested the prime minister had not been prepared for the question.
Others, meanwhile, recalled Trudeau’s own racism scandal from 2019, when old images resurfaced of him wearing what appeared to be blackface.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon discussed the pause on Tuesday.
“Was it a stunt? What was the effect?” asked Cuomo. “For me, it’s that a leader doesn’t just talk, a leader has to listen but most importantly, a leader has to feel, a leader has to feel what the people he leads feels.”
“I think he faced a conundrum in that moment that many people face, they don’t know what to say,” said Lemon. “They don’t want to say the wrong thing, they don’t want to jump to conclusions and then you’re just sort of flummoxed because we’ve never really seen anything like this before.”
Check out the exchange between Cuomo and Lemon here:
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.