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Obama takes on Trump at 'Three Amigos' summit in Canada

As President Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto gathered for what was jokingly called the "Three Amigos Summit," the specter of Donald Trump seemed to hover close. 

While subjects ranging from trade, the recent "Brexit" vote and Tuesday's deadly attack in Turkey were also discussed, Trump was a hot topic of conversation. 

President Obama took Trump on directly when he delivered a spirited statement on the notion of Trump and "populism" during an afternoon press conference. 

Listing some of his own accomplishments, specifically concerning poverty, labor rights and education, Obama said: 

"I suppose that makes me a populist. Somebody else who has never shown any regard for workers, has never fought on behalf of social justice issues... They don't suddenly become a populist because they say something controversial in order to win votes. That's not the measure of populism. That's nativism or xenophobia or worse. Or it's just cynicism."

With tensions growing over terrorism and the fallout from Britain's exit from the European Union, Obama acknowledged that Americans and others have reason to be concerned about their own future in a rapidly globalizing economy. He said concerns about immigrants had been exploited by politicians in the past, but he insisted that he wasn't worried that Americans would follow that path.

"We should take some of this seriously and answer it boldly and clearly," Obama said, without naming the Republican presidential candidate. "But you shouldn't think that is representative of how the American people think."

Obama later addressed the Canadian Parliament during his visit, becoming the ninth American leader to do so. Calling the relationship between the two countries, "as strong as it has ever been," Obama spoke about integrating economies, stressing that building economic borders would lead to failure. "Restricting trade or giving in to protectionism in this 21st century economy will not work," he said. 

During the nearly hour-long speech, Obama also touched on the Syrian Civil War, climate change, and immigration and refugees. Once more seeming to allude to Trump and his controversial immigration proposal, Obama said: 

"Democracy is not easy, it's hard. Living up to our ideals can be difficult even in the best of times and it can be harder when the future seems uncertain. Or when in response to legitimate fears and frustrations, there are those who offer up politics of us versus them, a politics that scapegoats others: the immigrant, the refugee, someone who seems different than us. We have to call this mentality what it is: a threat to the values that we profess, the values we seek to defend."

Watch his whole speech below. 

It made quite the impression on the Canadian lawmakers. During their standing ovation following his speech, they began shouting, "four more years!" 

There were some moments of levity during the summit. There was that awkward handshake between the three leaders.

And, at the same press conference at which Obama talked about populism, the U.S. president also gave a thumbs up when Trudeau made reference to the upcoming end of Obama's presidency.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

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