The 2018 G7 summit of world leaders in Canada was certainly packed with moments of drama — from President Donald Trump’s refusal to sign the group’s joint statement to his angry tweets after leaving. Here are eight explosive G7 situations that left some reeling – and others cheering. See a photo that captured a tense moment (page 5) and what Trump said about Justin Trudeau that got Canadians so mad (page 7).
1. Trump refused to sign the joint statement
- He cited Canada’s “massive tariffs to our US farmers.”
While he initially appeared to endorse the joint G7 statement signed by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.K., Trump ultimately rejected the agreement. The group’s communiqué vowed to fight back against protectionism and pledged to follow established trade rules. Trump said his decision was due to “false statements” from Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau.
Why the about face? Trudeau referred to possible retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. in his post-summit news conference. “Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive tariffs to our US farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our US reps not to endorse the communiqué,” Trump tweeted.
Next: Why Trump tweeted that “change is coming”
2. He tweeted more angry comments
- He referred to America’s “unfair $800 billion trade deficit.”
Among Trump’s statements on Twitter:
- “Fair trade is now to be called fool trade if it is not reciprocal.”
- “Why should I, as president of the United State, allow countries to continue to make massive trade surpluses, as they have for decades, while our farmers, workers & taxpayers have such a big and unfair price to pay?”
- “The U.S. pays close to the entire cost of NATO – protecting many of these same countries that rip us off on trade (they pay only a fraction of the cost – and laugh!)”
- “Germany pays 1 percent (slowly) of GDP towards NATO, while we pay 4 percent of a much larger GDP. Does anybody believe that makes sense?”
- “We protect Europe (which is good) at great financial loss, and then get unfairly clobbered on trade. Change is coming!”
Next: Which summit meetings Trump skipped
3. He arrived late and left early
- He missed group meetings as a result.
Trump arrived late to a morning G7 gathering focused on gender diversity. The meeting started without him. Later that same day, he left the Quebec summit four hours early, before the group discussed climate change and the health of oceans. In departing early, he also missed the other countries’ closing news conferences.
The president boarded Air Force One and headed straight to Singapore, bound for his high-stakes summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Next: His controversial proposal regarding Russia
4. Trump tried to get Russia back in
- He told reporters he was open to reinstating Russia’s participation in the G7.
Before Trump headed to the G7 summit, he suggested the possibility of Russia re-joining the G7 group of countries. Russia was suspended from the group after it invaded Ukraine and forcefully annexed Crimea in 2014. It was the first violation of European borders since world War II.
Trudeau said he told Trump that asking Russia to rejoin the G7 is “not something we are even remotely looking at.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said the consensus was not to let Russia back into the G7.
Next: See the photo that revealed drama.
5. The photo seen around the world
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman tweeted a much talked-about photo from the summit: Trump sits with his arms crossed while Merkel leans toward him, hands on a table. Macron engages Trump, while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks resigned with arms folded.
A diplomat who was present later told CNN the photo captured an argument on the trade section of the communiqué. Trump convinced the others to remove the World Trade Organization’s name from the document and to include wording on “reciprocal” trade, the source said.
Next: The rift with Macron
6. What he said about Macron
- Trump charged Macron with imposing “massive tariffs” and “non-monetary barriers” on America.
- The two shook hands roughly, leaving a pale thumbprint on Trump’s hand.
Prior to the summit, Trump accused Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron on Twitter of charging America “massive tariffs” and creating “non-monetary barriers,” adding, “Looking forward to seeing them tomorrow.” Trump arrived too late for a scheduled meeting with Macron the first day of the summit. The two met the following day.
After the summit, without naming names, Macron said anyone who departed from the communiqué’s commitments after leaving showed “incoherence and inconsistency.” He issued a statement that said, “International cooperation cannot depend on fits of anger or little words. Let us be serious and worthy of our people.”
Next: See why Trump called Trudeau “weak.”
7. He called Trudeau “dishonest and weak”
- Trump make the remarks after Trudeau talked of the possibility of imposing retaliatory tariffs on the U.S.
Trump tweeted incendiary remarks on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Justin acts hurt when called out!” the president tweeted. On Saturday, he called the Canadian prime minister “very dishonest and weak.”
The Toronto Star newspaper responded to Trump’s remarks in an editorial: “He sulked his way through the first part of the meeting, gave his delegation the OK to sign the summit’s pallid final communiqué, then threw a hissy fit and tore it up as soon as he was back on Air Force One … It was both dishonest and amateurish.”
Next: How Trump surprisingly rated the summit
8. He rated the summit a 10 out of 10
- He said the “gig is up” on unfair trade.
At an impromptu press conference before he left Quebec, reporters asked the president about frustrations between him and the likes of Macron and Trudeau. He responded he would rate his personal relationship with fellow leaders a 10 out of 10, despite the disagreements. He called reports of rifts “fake news.”
However, he said current leaders like Trudeau now know that the “gig is up” on unfair trade deficits with the U.S.
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