Comedian Hasan Minhaj puts Trudeau in hot seat over Saudi arms deal

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In a seemingly lighthearted back-and-forth during an interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his show “Patriot Act,” comedian Hasan Minhaj implores the Canadian leader to finish certain sentences.

He starts off with: “Tim Hortons is…” And Trudeau replies: “A Canadian institution.”

Minhaj then brings up the Toronto Raptors championship. “Finish this sentence: Kawhi Leonard should…”

Trudeau replies: “…should be very proud of what he accomplished during his time in Canada.”

Then, Minhaj throws a curveball at Trudeau.

“Canada will not sell any more weapons to Saudi Arabia. Period. Sorry I messed that one up,” Minhaj jokes. “Canada will not sell any more weapons to Saudi Arabia… please… That’s just a statement.”

Trudeau replies, “That’s a good statement,” while the comedian continues to drill the prime minister about ending the multibillion-dollar arms contract with Saudi Arabia. Trudeau faced increased pressure to end the controversial deal following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey in October 2018.

In a previous episode of “Patriot Act,” produced for Netflix, Minhaj blasted the Saudi government for its involvement in the assassination of Khashoggi and other human rights misconduct. In January, Saudi Arabia asked Netflix to pull the episode in which Minhaj criticizes their government, saying it allegedly violated the country’s cyber-crimes law. 

In the interview with Trudeau, Minhaj jokes that Saudis do really watch his show. Trudeau fires back: “I’m sure they’re keeping an eye on you.” The prime minister ends the back-and-forth by saying Canada takes the breaking of contracts seriously.

The “Patriot Act” episode is titled “Two Sides of Canada” and focuses on how Canada plans to tackle climate change while it still relies heavily on oil for its economy.