Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday June 9, 2018
Trump at G7: misses Macron meeting, suggests bringing Russia back
President Donald Trump sounded defiant departing for the Group of 7 summit on Friday, vowing to confront the leaders of America’s closest allies over trade. But he arrived so late to the conference in remote Canada that he missed his first scheduled sit-down. And he’s planning to cut short his visit by several hours a day later.
The series of events opened what promises to be a day-and-a-half of open animosity between Trump and infuriated western leaders, who are intent on airing their grievances before the President departs for his talks in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The stark reality of a US president skipping out on fuming western allies to have what he’s described as a “friendly negotiation” with the North Korean despot has not been lost on diplomats and leaders assembled in the Canadian woods.
And Trump has done little to ease their jitters.
He suggested just before touching down in Quebec that Russia should be allowed to rejoin the summit after five years in exile — a break in the united front allies had hoped to put forward against Moscow’s destabilization efforts in the US and Europe.
The remark seemed destined to only escalate the existing tensions between Trump and the six other leaders gathered at a riverside resort here. The annual G7 conference is usually a fairly news-free endeavor, with agreements on the global economy hammered out well before world leaders gather for two days of talks.
This year the normally staid affair has been imbued with uncertainty and bitterness. Few expect the assembled leaders will even agree on language for a joint “communique” that typically concludes the summit.
In the mid-afternoon, Trump emerged with fellow world leaders and smiled broadly for a “family photo.” The underlying tensions weren’t visible as the Saint Lawrence River glinted in the background. But the group retreated quickly behind closed doors for the start of their talks.
Before leaving the White House, Trump previewed a harsh tone for his foreign counterparts.
“We’re going to deal with the unfair trade practices,” Trump said. “If you look at what Canada, Mexico, the European Union, all of them have been doing to us for many, many decades, we have to change it. And they understand it’s going to happen.”
Trump was initially due to meet mid-morning with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, who he’d lambasted a night earlier on Twitter. But Trump emerged from the White House South Portico 30 minutes late on Friday morning, and spent another 20 minutes talking to reporters. (Source: CNN)
Meanwhile, today the U.S. President embarks on his first trip to Canada to discuss trade issues… #lotsanews