Rolling Stone unveiled its cover featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday — teasing their interview with a coquettish question: "Why can't he be our president?"
The image of a wistful-looking Trudeau, sleeves rolled up, leaning against a table in a wood-panelled room has allowed a new opportunity for people to perpetuate the misconception that a Canadian can't be U.S. president.
This whole debate last came up when Ted Cruz, the U.S. senator who was born in Calgary, ran an unsuccessful campaign against Republican rival Donald Trump for the GOP nomination.
According to constitutional scholars, the president must be a "natural born citizen" — which experts say is A-OK for anyone who has a parent who meets U.S. residency requirements. (Cruz's mother was an American living in Canada when he was born).
Trudeau, as Royle points out, cannot be president because he is not a natural born citizen of the United States.
The U.S. spotlight on Trudeau arrives at an interesting time. Canada is scheduled to start trade renegotiation talks next month with the U.S. and Mexico — after Trump campaigned on the promise to rip up NAFTA.
The magazine cover comes days after the prime minister suggested to Conservative MPs across the aisle to stop hobnobbing with U.S. media and keep domestic squabbles at home.
Last week, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel appeared on Fox News to denounce the Liberal government's decision to pay former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr a $10.5-million settlement.
Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic Peter Kent also opted to turn to U.S. media: in this case, an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, aligning the Official Opposition's stance to conservative Americans.
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'It's strange to witness'
Rolling Stone reporter Stephen Rodrick, who has written two features about U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence this year, touched on Trudeau's political pedigree, #elbowgate and some of Trudeau's more brutish characteristics.
The prime minister's penchant to drop Canadian brags and burns in interviews was also noticed.
Trudeau is no Trump, which is the main point Rolling Stone repeats in the details chosen to highlight the difference in the two world leaders.
For example, the Trump administration is the focus of an ongoing special investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election. That news cycle has sowed discord between the U.S. president and the press.
At a Canadian press conference, Rolling Stone witnessed Trudeau thanking reporters for the "essential" role they play in a democracy.
"Where are we? Narnia? Coachella recovery tent? 2009?" Rodrick wrote. "We are in Ottawa, Ontario, a mere 560 miles from Washington, D.C."
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