The New Zealand PM has dismissed reports that the American president confused her with the Canadian prime minister’s spouse.
Such is the torrent of malapropism, muddle and casual offence that flows from the mouth of the US president, it would hardly be a surprise if Donald Trump’s response to seeing Jacinda Ardern at a leaders’ summit had been to look to the Canadian prime minister alongside her and compliment him on his wife’s appearance.
According to the New Zealand PM, however, someone has simply got confused about the supposed confusion, thanks very much.
The story became public this afternoon after Tom Sainsbury, the playwright and comedian best known for his Paula Bennett Snapchat impersonations as featured on the Spinoff, told RadioLive that Ardern had confided in him after the Vodafone Music Awards on Thursday evening.
The New Zealand PM, who was introduced onstage by Sainsbury in Paula persona and caused a surge in the national grid with a mutual-swoon embrace of Lorde, had confided details of the mix-up, he said.
“I’m not sure if I should be saying this, but she said that Donald Trump was confused for a good amount of time, thinking that she was Justin Trudeau’s wife,” Sainsbury told host Ryan Bridges.
A separate, Wellington-based source – though not someone who travelled to Asia – told the Spinoff on Friday that not only had Trump mistaken Ardern for Trudeau’s wife, he had also also, under the misapprehension he was referring to the Canadian PM’s spouse, said, “You’ve done well for yourself.”
Ardern has this evening rejected the suggestion that Trump had muddled her identity.
“Someone thought the president had confused us but in all of the conversations we had it was clear to me he hadn’t, and recalled the conversation we had late last month,” she said via a spokesperson.
Not only had Trump spoken on the phone with Ardern last month – in the conversation latterly famous for the attempted derailment by Paddles the cat, RIP – but he also hosted the Trudeaus at the White House, so arguably any casual sexism would have been dispensed on that occasion.
Ardern has won headlines over recent days for deftly throwing shade the president’s way.
In an interview with Newsroom, Ardern said that Trump had said of her about her election victory, in jest, “This lady caused a lot of upset in her country.”
Ardern: “I said, ‘You know’, laughing, ‘no-one marched when I was elected.'”
More brutal still was her response when asked by the New Zealand Herald, “What was your abiding impression of Donald Trump in the few conversations you had with him?”
Ardern: “He is consistent. He is the same person that you see behind the scenes as he is in the public or through the media.”
Check out the Spinoff’s Gone By Lunchtime political podcast, hosted by Toby Manhire with Ben Thomas and Annabelle Lee.