"Yeah. One hundred years ago", President Varela responded with a smile, in what is perhaps the most impeccable Presidential shade we have seen in 2017.
During the short press availability, Trump heaped praise on the U.S. -Panama relationship, calling it "very strong" and promising it will be "only getting stronger".
"The Panama Canal is doing quite well", Trump said, sitting with Varela for a photo opportunity. The U.S. transferred control of the canal to Panama in December 1999. "Right? Very good job".
The Panama Canal, which opened in August 1914, is a waterway over the Panama Isthmus that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Valera - who will be in the nation's capital for four days - was joined by his wife, First Lady Lorena Castillo de Varela, for the trip.
Varela's office said afterward the two leaders discussed security, economic issues and countering the proliferation of drug trafficking.
Varela pointed to the "long relationship" between the USA and Panama and said "we face the same challenges in the region". Varela arrived at the White House Monday morning.
The two leaders also addressed unrest in nearby Venezuela, which has been grappling with anti-government protests and calls for new presidential elections amid major inflation, crime and food and medical shortages.