MONTREAL — Could Canada’s relations with the United States have taken a turn for the worse after its leading public broadcaster cut a secondslong scene of President Donald Trump from “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York?”
Canadians were momentarily pondering that unlikely question over the Christmas holidays after the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. broadcast the 1992 film without a cameo by Trump. In the scene, the character Kevin McCallister, played by Macaulay Culkin, asks Trump how to get to the lobby of New York’s ornate Plaza Hotel (which Trump owned at the time).
The CBC said the cut had been made for time’s sake and before Trump’s political career, but as the omission drew media attention, Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., posted about it Thursday on his Instagram account, calling the alteration “absolutely pathetic” and saying it proved that the news media “really are the enemy of the people.”
That evening, the president himself weighed in, retweeting an article about the edited version and adding an allusion to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada: “I guess Justin T doesn’t much like my making him pay up on NATO or Trade!”
A few minutes later, Trump tweeted a different headline, reporting claims that the incident was an example of censorship.
But those Canadians worrying that the perceived slight had undermined relations with Canada’s most important ally felt relief Thursday evening when Trump injected a note of humor to his commentary. “The movie will never be the same! (just kidding),” he wrote on Twitter.
On Friday, Trudeau’s office declined to comment on the incident.
The CBC, for its part, said the scene with Trump had been cut in 2014, before he declared his candidacy for president in 2015, and thus was not politically motivated.
“CBC’s airing of Home Alone 2 was edited for time,” Chuck Thompson, a spokesman for the broadcaster, wrote on Twitter. “This happens regularly with films adapted for television. The scene with Donald Trump was one of several that were cut from the movie, as none of them were integral to the plot.”
Trudeau, a progressive known for his advocacy of women’s rights and the fight against climate change, has had a somewhat rocky relationship with Trump, who last year called him “very dishonest and weak.” More recently, he called Trudeau “two-faced” after the prime minister had been caught on video apparently gossiping about Trump with other world leaders at a NATO reception at Buckingham Palace.
Before the latest brouhaha, Trump said this week that it had been an honor to be in the film. He mentioned the movie during a video conference call from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida with members of the U.S. military.
“A lot of people mention it every year, especially around Christmas,’’ he said. “They say, ‘I just saw you.’ Especially young kids, they say, ‘I just saw you on the movie.’ And it turned out to be a very big hit, obviously. It’s a big Christmas hit — one of the biggest. So it’s an honor to be involved in something like that. You always like to see success.”
Some of Trump’s supporters lashed out at the Canadian broadcaster.
“CBC TV in Canada has cut Donald Trump’s Home Alone 2 cameo out of their broadcast,” Ryan Fournier, chairman of a pro-Trump student group, wrote on Twitter. “They’re so triggered by him that they had to edit him out of the film. Absolutely pathetic.”
On the television program “Fox & Friends,” co-host Ed Henry accused the CBC of “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”
“I think they’re actually terrified that people will remember that before he was the new Hitler, he was actually a beloved mainstream cultural figure,” commentator Mark Steyn added on the show. “I think they’re terrified of these little things that will remind people of just how deranged his opponents are.”
But others commended the cut, including George Conway, a lawyer who is a vociferous critic of Trump and husband of Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.
“You see, Senators? It’s not that hard,” he wrote on Twitter, apparently alluding to Congress’ impeachment proceedings against Trump. Trump is expected to face a trial early next year in the Senate, where his acquittal in the Republican-controlled chamber appears likely.