U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he was “surprised” that past photos and videos of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau wearing blackface and brownface have emerged amid Canada’s federal election campaign.
“I was hoping I wouldn’t be asked that question,” Trump told reporters on Friday. “I’m surprised. I was more surprised when I saw the number of times.”
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Justin.”
On Wednesday, Time magazine published a yearbook photo from 2001 of the Liberal leader at an Arabian Nights-themed gala event at a private school in Vancouver where he once taught.
In the photo, Trudeau is wearing dark makeup and a turban.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday evening, Trudeau apologized for the photo.
WATCH: Trudeau apologizes after brownface photo surface
“I shouldn’t have done that,” he said. “I should have known better but I didn’t and I’m really sorry.”
Trudeau said he now recognizes that wearing brownface was racist, though he didn’t think so at the time.
He said he was taking responsibility and vowed to continue campaigning.
“I’m going to be asking Canadians to forgive me for what I did. I shouldn’t have done that. I take responsibility for it. It was a dumb thing to do,” he said, adding that he was “pissed off” with himself.
During the press conference, Trudeau was asked if this was the only incident. He told reporters that he had performed the song Day-O during a high school talent competition “with makeup on.”
However, on Thursday, a video obtained exclusively by Global News was published, which shed light onto a third instance of racist dress by the federal leader.
Speaking at a campaign event in Toronto on Friday, Trudeau confirmed the video was shot during a costume day for river guides of a whitewater rafting operation in Quebec where he worked sometime between the summers of 1992 and 1994.
EXCLUSIVE: Video of third instance of Trudeau in racist makeup
The video shows Trudeau covered in what appears to be dark makeup and raising his hands in the air while laughing, sticking his tongue out and making faces. He’s wearing a white T-shirt and his jeans are ripped at the knees. It appears as though his arms and legs are covered in makeup as well.
Speaking at an event in Winnipeg on Thursday, Trudeau again apologized.
“Darkening your face, regardless of the context or circumstances, is always unacceptable because of the racist history of blackface,” he said. “I should have understood that then and I never should have done it.
“I have always acknowledged that I come from a place of privilege but now I need to acknowledge that this comes with a massive blind spot.”
Trudeau, who is running for re-election in Canada’s 2019 federal election, has faced harsh backlash from his fellow candidates for the incidents.
Ahead of Trudeau’s apology on Wednesday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh reacted to the photo published by Time magazine, saying the Liberal leader needed to answer for what happened.
“Any time we hear examples of brownface or blackface… it’s making a mockery of someone for what they live and what their lived experiences are,” he told reporters.
WATCH: Singh says Trudeau’s brownface incidents a ‘pattern of behaviour’
On Thursday, Singh said the incidents pointed to a “pattern of behaviour.”
“I have to really point out what we’re seeing now is an ongoing pattern of behaviour that’s really going to hurt Canadians,” he said. “They’re going to see the prime minister mocking the realities that so many Canadians live with.
“And it is not a joke.”
WATCH: Scheer condemns Trudeau’s racist behaviour
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said she was “deeply shocked by the racism shown” in the photograph of Trudeau.
“He must apologize for the harm done and commit to learning and appreciating the requirement to model social justice leadership at all levels of government,” she said in a statement. “In this matter he has failed.”
WATCH: ‘Horrifically wrong and racist’ Green Party’s May reacts to Trudeau brownface photo
When asked by reporters on Friday if he was concerned whether the incidents will damage his international reputation, Trudeau said his focus is on “Canadians who face discrimination every day.”
WATCH: Trudeau says he’ll always stand against discrimination ‘at home and on world stage’
-With files from Kerri Breen, James Armstrong and Mercedes Stephenson
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