Trump says U.S. won't endorse G-7 joint statement with world leaders, accuses Trudeau of 'false statements'
President Donald Trump delivered a stern warning on trade to foreign countries at the Group of Seven summit on Saturday, urging trading partners not to retaliate against U.S. tariffs on the imports of steel and aluminum. (June 9)
WASHINGTON — After meeting with global leaders at the Group of Seven summit in Quebec, President Trump said Saturday he has instructed U.S. officials not to endorse a joint statement with other world leaders documenting the meeting and agreements.
The remarks, following a two-day meeting in Canada with the world’s largest industrialized economies, seemingly worsened diplomacy between the U.S. and its closest allies during heightened tensions about U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel.
Trump said on Twitter he directed officials not to endorse the communique as a response to comments made by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a news conference after Trump left for his meeting in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trudeau told reporters that Canada would move forward on July 1 with retaliatory tariffs to answer for Trump's tariffs on aluminum and steel that were "unjustly applied to us."
"I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing, but it is something that we absolutely will do because Canadians, we're polite, we're reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around," Trudeau said.
It wasn't long after the news conference that Trump took to Twitter, calling Trudeau "meek" and "dishonest" in a series of posts, claiming the Canadian leader changed his tone after Trump left the meetings.
Using Trudeau's first name, Trump said based on "Justin’s false statements" 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 continued in another tweet: "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!"
While gathered at the meeting, Trump told global leaders that they must reduce trade barriers and floated the idea of lowering tariffs completely if other countries agreed to a more pure form of open trade.
He threatened to stop trading with other nations if they decline to lower barriers he has repeatedly described as unfair, and he warned allies against taking retaliatory measures against steep metal tariffs that he imposed last month.
“We’re like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing,” Trump said. “And that ends.”
Ending trade with other nations under the current system, Trump said, would be “a very profitable answer if I have to do it.”
The remarks, following a two-day meeting in Canada with the world’s largest industrialized economies, were among the most strident Trump has used to describe what he sees as an out-of-whack global trade system that he says harms U.S. industries.
Speaking to reporters before leaving for Singapore, Trump tried to downplay any notion that the meeting in Canada was contentious.
He repeatedly described his relationship with the other leaders at the summit as “a 10” and said he did not blame the other countries for their positions on trade.
Later in the day Trump tweeted: "Just left the @G7 Summit in beautiful Canada. Great meetings and relationships with the six Country Leaders especially since they know I cannot allow them to apply large Tariffs and strong barriers to ... ... U.S.A. Trade. They fully understand where I am coming from. After many decades, fair and reciprocal Trade will happen!"
"The United States will not allow other countries to impose massive Tariffs and Trade Barriers on its farmers, workers and companies. While sending their product into our country tax free. We have put up with Trade Abuse for many decades — and that is long enough," he continued.
Trump drew international criticism last month for leveling a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% duty on aluminum, measures the president says are necessary for national security. The president has also said he is considering a tariff on imported cars.
The president said the ideal situation would be a completely free trade system with the other G-7 nations — Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada. Under such an arrangement, he said, the U.S. would agree to remove all tariffs and barriers if the other countries did as well.
Trump did not indicate that he had received any concessions in his negotiations on trade at the summit. Several other leaders have threatened retaliatory tariffs.
“If they retaliate,” Trump said, “they’re making a mistake.”
The other leaders at the summit didn't address Trump's remarks directly, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron both posted photos that showed an alternate perspective — though Macron's tweet had a hopeful tone.
"Day two of the G7 summit in Canada: spontaneous meeting between two working sessions. #G7Charlevoix," Merkel posted on Instagram with a photograph of her and Macron staring down Trump, who sat with his arms crossed as others looked on.
Macron posted a photo of leaders and aides surrounding Trump, who is one of two people sitting, as Macron gestures at him.
"#G7Charlevoix, second day: A new step has been taken. After a long day of work and very direct dialogue, we are actively seeking an ambitious agreement," an English translation of Macron's tweet says.
Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican who has been critical of the president, said if Trump "is actually serious about leading the expansion of a G-7 no-tariff, free-trade agreement, that's tremendous, tremendous news. ... I would happily carry his bag to every single meeting of those negotiations."
But, Sasse cautioned, "the path to more trade begins with less whining on the global stage. ... The constant victim-talk doesn't help anyone."
Contributing: Eliza Collins