Photo via Gage Skidmore
President Donald Trump further isolated the United States from longtime allies at a meeting of G7 leaders over the weekend, refusing to endorse a group communique and insulting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
According to concurrent reports from around the globe, Trump’s combative personality and insistence that the world community is “taking advantage” of the United States dominated the meeting in Quebec. Occurring just one week after Trump implemented new trade tariffs on Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, the G7 meeting saw tense trade arguments between the U.S. president and leaders from France, Britain, Canada, Japan, Italy, and Germany.
Even under tense circumstances (and with photographic evidence to prove it), the weekend’s G7 meeting ended with an apparent joint resolution between the seven nations to move towards “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade.” But mere minutes after that communique was released in a press conference by Prime Minister Trudeau, Trump balked on the agreement, taking to Twitter from Air Force One to insult Trudeau’s characterization of American trade policy — calling Trudeau “dishonest and weak” — after stating that he would not be co-signing the accord:
Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
The disagreements between Trump and the rest of the G7 leaders is tied directly to recent increases in tariffs on imported steel and aluminium for U.S. allies. Trump has said that the sharp spike in metal taxes will strengthen both American jobs and national security, but detractors — including Trudeau, German Councilor Angela Merkel, and more — have said that they will not allow Trump to control global trade rules and will respond with their own tariffs on U.S. exports.
“I highlighted directly to the president that Canadians did not take it lightly that the United States has moved forward with significant tariffs,” Trudeau told reporters just minutes before Trump pulled out of the G7 agreement. “As Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we will also not be pushed around.”
The impromptu denial of the G7 communique signaled the unofficial end of the Quebec conference, but for Trump, the bizarre meeting of allies was just a jumping-off point for yet another highly anticipated geopolitical rendezvous.
Flying directly from the G7 summit in Canada to Singapore, Trump will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday to discuss a potential denuclearization agreement with the controversial Asian dictator.
Kim met with South Korean President Moon Jae-In earlier this year to begin a set of peace talks, but Trump briefly cancelled this week’s planned meeting with Kim before resetting the historic meet-and-greet earlier this month.
It’s still not clear how much Trump and Kim will be able to accomplish during Tuesday’s planned two-hour meeting, and what the tone of the duo’s interaction will be, but Trump has already told reporters that he will essentially be winging the historic negotiation, making no specific preparations for his meeting with Kim.
“I’m very well prepared,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Friday. “I don’t think I have to prepare very much. It’s about attitude. It’s about willingness to get things done. But I think I’ve been preparing for this summit for a long time, as has the other side.”
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Stay tuned to MERRY JANE’s Need to Know column this Wednesday for more updates on Trump’s unprecedented meeting with Kim Jong Un.