WASHINGTON – Critics of Justin Trudeau’s guarantee of a gender-equal cabinet have found a famous ally south of the border: Donald Trump.
The billionaire politician was asked Wednesday in an interview about imitating the new Canadian prime minister’s half-male, half-female cabinet — and he said no.
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An MSNBC interviewer brought up Trudeau’s stated rationale for the move — “because it’s 2015” — and she asked the Republican nomination contender whether he’d follow suit.
Trump replied that he has many, many women working for his companies. Perhaps even more than 50 per cent, he said. But he said he’d make cabinet appointments based exclusively on merit, not quotas.
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“I’m not one that has to make a pledge,” Trump replied to the question from Mika Brzezinski.
“I wouldn’t want that. Because I will tell you: I want the best person at each position… I’m going to get the best people for the job.”
He mentioned, for example, billionaire investor Carl Icahn who has endorsed Trump and is apparently already lined up for a cabinet spot should the real-estate-selling reality-TV star win the White House.
Trump has taken a few positions on other issues relevant to Canada in recent months, as he has mostly led the Republican nomination polls.
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He has dismissed the idea of a border wall with Canada, despite enthusiastically proposing one with Mexico. He opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact because he says it’s a bad deal for the United States.
And he supports the Keystone XL pipeline. Trump has mused about possibly requesting better terms from TransCanada Corp., but he is emphatically in favour of building the stalled pipeline.
“It’s an outrage that Obama has delayed and probably even killed the 1,179-mile-long pipeline,” he writes in his new book, “Crippled America,” released before President Barack Obama officially announced he was rejecting the project.
The pipeline is expected to be an issue in the 2016 presidential election, as Republicans favour it and Democrats oppose it. However, it barely came up in a Republican debate on the economy Tuesday.