Trump blasts Trudeau as he dis­avows joint state­ment

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - NATION & WORLD - BY CATHERINE LUCEY, ROB GIL­LIES AND KEN THOMAS

“We’re like the pig­gy­bank that ev­ery­body is rob­bing. And that ends.” Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump

LA MALBAIE, Quebec— Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump threw the G-7 sum­mit into dis­ar­ray Satur­day, tweet­ing that Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau is “dis­hon­est & weak” and that the U.S. was pulling back its en­dorse­ment of the group’s com­mu­nique in part be­cause of what he called Trudeau’s “false state­ments” at a news con­fer­ence.

In an ex­tra­or­di­nary set of tweets aboard Air Force One, on its way to Sin­ga­pore for this week’s sum­mit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, Trump lashed out just as Canada re­leased the G-7’s of­fi­cial com­mu­nique. Its state­ment took a gen­er­ally pos­i­tive view of the lead­ers’ po­si­tions on trade mat­ters while ac­knowl­edg­ing ten­sions with the U.S.

A few hours ear­lier, Trudeau had told re­porters that all seven lead­ers had come to­gether to sign the joint dec­la­ra­tion.

Trump tweeted: “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!”

He fol­lowed up by tweet­ing: “PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild dur­ing our @G7 meet­ings 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 & weak. Our Tar­iffs are in re­sponse to his of 270% on dairy!”

In a state­ment, a spokesman for Trudeau did not ad­dress Trump’s in­sults. “We are fo­cused on ev­ery­thing we ac­com­plished here at the #G7 sum­mit,” spokesman Cameron Ah­mad said. “The Prime Min­is­ter said noth­ing he hasn’t said be­fore — both in pub­lic, and in pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions with the Pres­i­dent.”

As he ex­ited the world sum­mit, Trump had de­liv­ered a stark warn­ing to Amer­ica’s trad­ing part­ners not to counter his de­ci­sion to im­pose tar­iffs on steel and alu­minum im­ports. But the sum­mit host, Trudeau, whose na­tion was among those sin­gled out by Trump, pushed back and said he would not hes­i­tate to re­tal­i­ate against his neigh­bor to the south.

“If they re­tal­i­ate, they’re mak­ing a mis­take,” Trump de­clared be­fore de­part­ing the an­nual Group of Seven sum­mit, which in­cludes Bri­tain, Italy, France, Ger­many and Ja­pan.

Trudeau later said he re­it­er­ated to Trump that tar­iffs will harm in­dus­tries and work­ers on both sides of the U.S.-Canada bor­der. He said un­leash­ing re­tal­ia­tory mea­sures “is not some­thing I rel­ish do­ing” but that he wouldn’t hes­i­tate to do so be­cause “I will al­ways pro­tect Cana­dian work­ers and Cana­dian in­ter­ests.”

De­spite the sharp dif­fer­ences, Trudeau said all seven lead­ers had come to­gether to sign a joint dec­la­ra­tion de­spite hav­ing “some strong, firm con­ver­sa­tions on trade, and specif­i­cally on Amer­i­can tar­iffs.”

Trump’s ab­bre­vi­ated stay at this Quebec re­sort saw him con­tin­u­ing the same type of tough talk on trade as when he de­parted the White House, when he ac­cused Trudeau of be­ing “in­dig­nant.”

The sum­mit came dur­ing an on­go­ing trade dis­pute with China and served as a pre­cur­sor to the un­prece­dented meet­ing with Kim, in which Trump has sought to ex­tend a hand to the Asian au­to­crat who has long be­dev­iled the in­ter­na­tional or­der.

“His mes­sage from Quebec to Sin­ga­pore is that he is go­ing to meld the in­dus­trial democ­ra­cies to his will — and bring back Rus­sia,” said Steve Ban­non, Trump’s for­mer cam­paign and White House ad­viser. Ban­non said China is “now on no­tice that Trump will not back down from even al­lies’ com­plaints in his goal of ‘Amer­ica First.’ ”

Speak­ing ear­lier on Satur­day dur­ing a rare solo news con­fer­ence, Trump said he pressed for the G-7 coun­tries to elim­i­nate all tar­iffs, trade bar­ri­ers and sub­si­dies in their trad­ing prac­tices. He re­it­er­ated his long­stand­ing view that the U.S. has been taken ad­van­tage of in global trade, adding, “We’re like the pig­gy­bank that ev­ery­body’s rob­bing and that ends.”

He said U.S. farm­ers had been harmed by tar­iffs and other bar­ri­ers and warned that U.S. trad­ing part­ners would need to pro­vide him with more fa­vor­able terms. “It’s go­ing to stop or we’ll stop trad­ing with them,” he said.

Trump cited progress on reach­ing an agree­ment on the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment with Canada and Mex­ico, say­ing the fi­nal out­come would lead ei­ther to an im­proved trade deal or sep­a­rate pacts with the two U.S. neigh­bors. Trump said he was dis­cussing two types of sun­set pro­vi­sions in which any of the coun­tries could leave the deal. A Cana­dian of­fi­cial said the lead­ers discussed ac­cel­er­at­ing the pace of the talks.

But Trudeau ob­jected stren­u­ously to a sun­set clause of any length. “If you put an ex­piry date on any trade deal, that’s not a trade deal. That’s our un­equiv­o­cal po­si­tion,” he said.

Prior to his ar­rival on Fri­day, the pres­i­dent in­jected ad­di­tional con­tro­versy by sug­gest­ing that the G-7 of­fer a seat at the ta­ble to Rus­sia, which was ousted from the group in 2014. Trump said Satur­day that re-ad­mit­ting Rus­sia to the elite club would be “an as­set,” telling re­porters, “We’re look­ing for peace in the world.” Trump said he had not spo­ken with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin in awhile.

Dis­cussing Rus­sia’s ab­sence, Trump made the vague com­ment that “some­thing hap­pened a while ago where Rus­sia is no longer in. I think it would be an as­set to have Rus­sia back in.”

In fact, Rus­sia was ex­pelled from what was then the G-8 af­ter it in­vaded and an­nexed Crimea and for its sup­port for pro-Rus­sia sep­a­ratists in Ukraine.

Trump placed the blame on his pre­de­ces­sor, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. “He was the one who let Crimea get away — that was dur­ing his ad­min­is­tra­tion,” he said, adding: “Obama can say all he wants, but he al­lowed Rus­sia to take Crimea. I may have had a much dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude.”

It was not clear what Trump thought Obama should have done to pre­vent Putin from send­ing in Rus­sian troops to seize the Black Sea penin­sula from neigh­bor­ing Ukraine.

Trudeau said he told Trump that read­mit­ting Rus­sia “is not some­thing that we are even re­motely look­ing at at this time.”

Trump’s re­cent moves, build­ing on 18 months of na­tion­al­ist pol­icy-mak­ing, left him out of step with the glob­ally minded or­ga­ni­za­tion and prompted spec­u­la­tion that the group could fracture into some­thing more like the “G-6 plus one.”

Late for meet­ing: Trump ar­rived late for a gen­der equal­ity meet­ing at an in­ter­na­tional sum­mit, prompt­ing his host, Canada’s Trudeau, to kick it off with­out wait­ing for “strag­glers” to ar­rive.

Trump cre­ated a dis­trac­tion when he walked in late for Satur­day’s break­fast meet­ing.

He missed Trudeau’s in­tro­duc­tory state­ment and en­tered the room while Gen­der Equal­ity Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil co-chair Is­abelle Hudon was speak­ing.

French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron stared at Trump af­ter he sat down.

Trudeau and Cana­dian For­eign Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land later tweeted pho­tos of the women’s em­pow­er­ment meet­ing, show­ing Trump’s empty chair.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump lis­tens dur­ing the Gen­der Equal­ity Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil break­fast dur­ing the G-7 sum­mit in Quebec. From left are Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel and IMF Manag­ing Di­rec­tor Chris­tine La­garde.

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