LA MALBAIE, Quebec June 9 (Reuters) – The Group of Seven leaders came to their summit in Canada braced for battle, and while everyone had smiles ready for the cameras, behind the scenes U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a “rant” and recriminations on trade to U.S. allies, leaving the once united club deeply divided.
Trade dominated the two-day summit that began on Friday with leaders of Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Britain and Italy returning to the topic repeatedly in meetings, at a lavish dinner and by a fireside pit late into the evening.
A photo tweeted by the German government spokesman, @RegSprecher, captured the mood, showing a seated Trump, arms crossed, surrounded by other leaders standing over him.
At what a French described as one “extraordinary” session on Friday, leaders who had vowed to confront Trump over his decision to impose tariffs on U.S. allies last week as part of his “America First” agenda, showered Trump with data one after the other.
Trump gave “a long, frank rant”, the official said, repeating a position he carried through the 2016 U.S. election campaign into the White House that the United States had suffered at the hands of its trading partners, with French President Emmanuel Macron pushing back on the assertion and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe chiming in.
LA MALBAIE, Quebec (AP) — President Donald Trump stepped to the microphone alone Saturday to take reporters’ questions, just the second time he’d done so since taking office more than a year ago.
He talked about his desire for countries to remove all barriers to the free flow of goods. He looked ahead to the next big meeting on his schedule — a summit in Singapore next week with North Korea’s leader. Along the way, Trump bashed the U.S. press and defended why he does it.
“I’d like to ask you why you do that?” said a White House reporter from the news agency Agence France-Presse.
Trump, who is obsessed with his media coverage and has labeled the press “the enemy of the people,” defended the steady stream of attacks.
“Because the U.S. press is very dishonest. Much of it, not all of it,” Trump said. “Oh, I have some folks in your profession that are with the U.S., in the U.S., citizens, proud citizens; they’re reporters. These are some of the most outstanding people I know. But there are many people in the press that are unbelievably dishonest. They don’t cover stories the way they’re supposed to be. They don’t even report them in many cases if they’re positive. So there’s tremendous — you know, I came up with the term ‘fake news.’
Angela Merkel's office has released this photo taken today at the G7, which tells you a lot about how things went. pic.twitter.com/IXX6K3ayys
— David Mack (@davidmackau) June 9, 2018