G7 in disarray after Trump rejects communique and attacks ‘weak’ Trudeau
Leaders believed they had a deal until the US president launched a personal attack on Canada’s prime minister
Donald Trump has left the G7 network of global cooperation in disarray after he pulled the US out of a previously agreed summit communique, blaming the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau whom he derided as dishonest and weak.
The US president, who arrived at the summit in Canada late and left early to fly to Singapore to prepare for his summit with Kim Jong-un, shocked fellow leaders with a bellicose press conference on Saturday in which he attacked the trade policies of other countries.
The US had nevertheless appeared to agree a form of words on contentious issues thanks to an all-night negotiating session by officials from all sides.
But after leaving for Singapore, Trump tweeted personal attacks on Trudeau and said that he had told his representatives not to sign the summit communique, turning what had already been a tense meeting of the worlds leading industrialised democracies into a fiasco.
PM Justin Trudeau acted so meek and mild, he tweeted. Only to give a news conference after I left saying that US tariffs were kind of insulting and he will not be pushed around.
Very dishonest and weak he claimed, adding in a separate tweet: I have instructed our US reps not to endorse the communique.
Journalists traveling on Air Force One to Singapore with Trump had been told that the US had decided to be part of the joint communique, which represented a minimal show of unity amid deep disagreements between Trump and the other six leaders over trade. The reporters only discovered when the plane landed on the Greek island of Crete to refuel that the president had changed his mind.
Even for a presidency as capricious as Trumps, his action marked a new blurring of lines between his personal feelings towards other leaders, and US government policy. It was also the latest example of Trumps use of much harsher language towards fellow democratically-elected leaders of allied countries than to strongmen leaders of enemy and adversary nations.
A few minutes before Trump sent out his inflammatory tweets, his hawkish national security security adviser, John Bolton, appeared to anticipate them by sending a tweet of his own, deriding the G7 summit he had just attended.
Just another G7 where other countries expect America will always be their bank. The President made it clear today. No more, Bolton said.
Bolton has been sidelined in talks with the North Koreans, but the last-minute turnaround on the G7 represents a win for his unilateralist approach to US foreign policy.
The tweets also represent a blow to the French president Emmanuel Macron and the German chancellor Angela Merkel, who believed they had brokered a deal to smooth over tensions on US-European trade.