Coverage: G7 summit ends in chaos, threats
President Donald Trump alienated the United States’ closest allies at the Group of Seven summit in Canada with his aggressive trade declarations and surprising suggestion that Russia be readmitted to the exclusive club of major economic powers.
Jim Puzzanghera of the Los Angeles Times had the story:
But his mission at the Canadian summit appeared to be chaos. And it didn’t stop when he left, as he later publicly backed out of his agreement to join the other six nations in signing a communique outlining shared principles at its conclusion. He blamed the host of the summit, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for the U.S. withdrawal, calling Trudeau “very dishonest & weak” after he criticized White House trade policies at the summit’s closing news conference.
Trump had earlier rattled top allies in the G7 with startling statements such as a proposal that all the nations drop all their tariffs and trade restrictions even as he has risked a global trade war by imposing U.S. tariffs on a variety of products.
“I don’t know if they were surprised with President Trump’s free-trade proclamation, but they certainly listened to it and we had lengthy discussions about that,” Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic advisor, told reporters.
Trump denied he was leaving the summit early because of tensions within the group and said his relationships with the other leaders “is a 10.”
Eli Watkins of CNN wrote that economic advisor Larry Kudlow called Trudeau’s statement a betrayal:
Kudlow was speaking following the G7 summit in Canada on Saturday. As Trump flew from the summit with US allies to a planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, he lashed out at Trudeau for what he said were his “false statements” at a news conference and said the US would not endorse the G7 communique, a negotiated statement on shared priorities among the group.
Although it is unclear which of Trudeau’s statements Trump was calling false, Trudeau said in the news conference Saturday that Canada will “move forward with retaliatory measures” on July 1 in response to the Trump administration’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, the European Union and Mexico.
“I have made it very clear to the President that it is not something we relish doing, but it something that we absolutely will do,” Trudeau said. “Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.”
Zeeshan Aleem of Vox reported that Trump initially was going to sign the G7 statement:
Trump’s confrontational moves capped off two days of tense negotiations between the US and some of its most treasured allies at an annual meeting that is typically marked by near-consensus on issues like free trade.
Going into the summit it was unclear if Trump was in fact going to sign the customary joint statement in which the members of the G7, a club of some of the most powerful industrialized nations of the world, detail the policy positions and initiatives they agree on as the summit wraps.
A White House official has told the Washington Post prior to the meeting that Trump was contemplating not signing the statement to show that the US is perfectly happy to go its own way if the other members give it too much trouble during talks over issues like Trump’s controversial steel and aluminum tariffs.
In the end what Trump did seemed significantly more petty. It appears that Trump was behind signing the statement as he left the summit, but then decided to take it back because Trudeau pledged to follow through on earlier promises to retaliate against US tariffs at a press conference after he left.