By Jonathan Allen
QUEBEC CITY — President Donald Trump said Saturday that he was pulling the U.S. out of the Group of Seven’s official statement of common values and accused Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the host of the G-7 conference, of “false statements.”
An administration official earlier had said that Trump would join the summit communiqué. Trump had left on his way to Singapore for a North Korean nuclear summit when he tweeted that U.S. representatives would not sign it.
“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!” Trump wrote in one tweet before following it up with another shot at Trudeau.
“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,'” Trump wrote. “Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!”
Hours after Trump left the G-7 conference with Canada, the U.K., Japan, Germany, Italy and France, Trudeau had announced that the seven countries had come to a consensus on encouraging free and fair trade — an ambiguous “communiqué” that, in and of itself, left clear how divided the countries are on the issue.
“We acknowledge that free, fair and mutually beneficial trade and investment, while creating reciprocal benefits, are key engines for growth and job creation,” the message read.
It appeared that Trudeau’s statements at a news conference prompted Trump’s reversal. The president’s allegation of mendacity by Trudeau stood out from the norm of diplomatic politeness.
White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow confirmed on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Trudeau’s statements caused Trump to pull out of the meeting, claiming the Canadian prime minister had “betrayed Trump and the G7.”
“You fly out of there and the host Canadian prime minister starts taking whacks at you, potshots at you, on the eve of this Korean summit,” Kudlow said. “President Trump had no alternative in my opinion but to express his opinion that he is going to pull out.”
Kudlow also noted, however, that the U.S. would not pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement during the CBS interview.
Peter Navarro, White House trade adviser, doubled down on “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 and that’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stun press conference,” Navarro said, calling the communiqué “socialist.”
The about-face by the Trump administration dashed the hopes of the Group of Seven countries, including some Trump administration officials, that a collective agreement could be reached and endorsed after a week in which U.S. isolation from the G-7 was evident enough some officials began referring to it as the G6+1.
Trump often says that other nations have long taken advantage of the U.S. in trade agreements and he has committed his administration to eliminating or alleviating trade deficits with a variety of countries around the world. He said Saturday that he would continue to push Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement or would undertake separate talks with each country to forge new deals.
His National Security Advisor, John Bolton, reiterated Trump’s vow not to let other nations use the U.S. as a “piggy bank.”
After Trump departed Canada, Trudeau pledged that Canada would retaliate against U.S. tariffs if Trump doesn’t reverse course.
“Canadians are polite, we’re reasonable but we also will not be pushed around,” Trudeau said.
“To our allies: bipartisan majorities of Americans remain pro-free trade, pro-globalization & supportive of alliances based on 70 years of shared values. Americans stand with you, even if our president doesn’t,” McCain said in the tweet.
On Sunday morning, France stood by the joint communiqué. Anyone departing from the commitments made at the summit would be showing their “incoherence and inconsistency,” a French presidency official told Reuters.
“International cooperation cannot depend on being angry and on sound bites. Let’s be serious,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, added.
“Germany stands by the jointly agreed communiqué,” a government spokesman said.