A day before a major summit with fellow Western leaders, President Donald Trump repeatedly lobbed verbal darts at the heads of Canada and France on Thursday, as a growing dispute over tariffs levied this past week by the U.S. President threatened to overshadow the 44th G-7 Summit meeting in Quebec, turning it more into a battle between the President and the other Western leaders.
“Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant,” President Trump wrote on Twitter, accusing Canada of being two-faced on trade – “he doesn’t bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy — hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture!”
Mr. Trump has made clear that he’s using the weapon of higher tariffs on imports to try to force changes by Canada, Mexico and Europe, in order to lower trade barriers on American exports.
So far, it isn’t working, and is only drawing retaliatory tariffs against U.S. products.
“The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, expressing growing frustration with President Trump’s tough line on trade.
On Thursday, Macron joined with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of the G-7 Summit, as both expressed the desire to go around the U.S. – and President Trump – when it comes to trade.
“I look forward to working even more closely with President Macron to grow the middle class and build economies that work for everyone,” Trudeau said.
As Trudeau and Macron linked arms, President Trump only grew more defiant, as the White House announced late Thursday that Mr. Trump would leave the G-7 summit earlier than originally scheduled on Saturday, as he berated fellow leaders on Twitter.
The G-7 meeting comes as the President has been focused more on what comes after that summit – his trip to Singapore, to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Mr. Trump made clear that he still expects the North Koreans to make progress on ending their nuclear weapons program, though the President has certainly toned down his earlier demands that the Pyongyang regime agree to that all at once.
“President Trump has been, and continues to be, committed to ridding the United States and the world of threats posed by North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, though that does not seem to be a requirement this summit.
Earlier, in a news conference with the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Trump floated the idea of inviting Kim Jong Un to the United States – maybe to the President’s Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida.
The President will fly to Singapore for the summit directly from the G-7 Summit in Canada. The meeting with Kim is scheduled to take place at 9 pm EDT on Monday – 9 am on Tuesday in Singapore.