President Joe Biden gave Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the same pair of aviator sunglasses last year he presented to Russian President Vladimir Putin a few months earlier at a summit in Geneva, Switzerland.
The U.S. president, who is frequently photographed wearing aviator sunglasses, gave the 23-karat gold-framed pair to Trudeau at the Three Amigos North American leaders’ summit in November in a box stamped with the White House insignia.
Andrew Sabl, professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said giving the same gift to Trudeau, his closest ally, and Putin, arguably his greatest adversary on the world stage, was “awkward” for Biden, but probably the fault of the White House protocol team.
Trudeau declared the aviator glasses, worth around US$300, in the official registry of MPs’ gifts, along with a watch the U.S. president gave him at the summit.
The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment, and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for a response.
The polarized glasses were custom made by Randolph engineering, which supplies aviator shades to America’s air force and navy pilots.
Biden gave the same pair of polarized aviator shades to Olivia Rodrigo, star of “High School Musical,” when she visited the White House last summer.
—The Canadian Press