Sunday 24 June 2018

G7 chaos as Trump accused of 'fits of anger'

  • 'Special place in Hell' for treacherous leaders - Trump aide

  • Allies despair of US president’s conduct of diplomacy by Twitter

The German government released this picture of Chancellor Angela Merkel, with France’s President Macron to her right, speaking to a seated US President Donald Trump at the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, on Saturday. Photo: Jesco Denzel/German Federal Government via AP
The German government released this picture of Chancellor Angela Merkel, with France’s President Macron to her right, speaking to a seated US President Donald Trump at the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, on Saturday. Photo: Jesco Denzel/German Federal Government via AP

Rob Crilly in New York

Germany and France have condemned US President Donald Trump for his hasty decision to abandon a G7 communiqué. They accused him of destroying trust and acting inconsistently.

Mr Trump left the G7 summit in Canada much as he had arrived, isolated and angry, despite talks which officials believed had papered over deep division on trade, tariffs and the environment.

As Mr Trump departed, he managed to wrongfoot even his own team with two angry tweets sent from Air Force One, announcing that he had ordered his officials not to sign a joint statement underlining the G7's commitment to "free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade".

In an angry outburst, he also accused Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, of being "dishonest and weak".

The comments riled allies, who accused Mr Trump of undermining progress. France's President Macron said international diplomacy should not be dictated by "fits of anger".

Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister, said: "In a matter of seconds, you can destroy trust with 280 Twitter characters."

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference at the G7 Summit in the Charlevoix town of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada. Photo: REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference at the G7 Summit in the Charlevoix town of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada. Photo: REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

He added that it followed Mr Trump's decision to go his own way, abandoning allies who had worked with the US on the Paris Accords and the Iran nuclear deal.

Mr Trump said in his tweets that Mr Trudeau was "dishonest" and blamed him for the breakdown over tariffs.

"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'," tweeted Mr Trump.

Mr Trudeau said he was planning to press on with retaliatory measures on July 1 in response to the Trump administration's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

However, the White House doubled down yesterday morning, delivering an extraordinary series of co-ordinated attacks on Mr Trudeau.

Larry Kudlow, the chief White House economic adviser who attended the G7 summit, accused the Canadian of double-crossing the US president.

"He really kind of stabbed us in the back," he told CNN's 'State of the Union'.

Mr Kudlow also suggested that Mr Trump's hardline language in the aftermath of the summit was an exercise in showing strength ahead of crunch nuclear talks with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, in Singapore tomorrow.

This marks a stunning breakdown in relations between two of the world's closest allies and is a sign of Mr Trump's impact on the world stage.

Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser, told 'Fox News Sunday': "There's a special place in Hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald J Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door."

For its part, Mr Trudeau's office said nothing had changed in the news conference.

"The prime minister said nothing he hasn't said before - both in public and in private conversations with the president," said a spokesman.

The result is an increasing sense of disarray, even after officials thought they had managed to put a gloss on two days of fraught negotiations.

Other G7 powers insisted that they continued to back the joint statement.

A senior British government source said: "We stand by the commitments made in the G7 communiqué."

France and Europe were standing by the G7 statement, a French presidency official said, adding that anyone who departed from the commitments made at the summit would be showing their "incoherence and inconsistency".

"International co-operation cannot depend on being angry and on soundbites. Let's be serious," the French official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

Observers said that it was difficult to detect any strategy in Mr Trump's actions other than to cause trouble.

Peter Westmacott, the former British ambassador to Washington, told 'The New York Times': "Trump is readier to give a pass to countries that pose a real threat to Western values and security than to America's traditional allies.

"If there is a 'method to the madness', to use the words of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, it is certainly well hidden." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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