Donald Trump as a candidate created so many great mental pictures–Low Energy Jeb, Little Marco, and Crooked Hillary, for example.
He’s still trolling the politicians, this time the G-7 leaders.
Besides the little stuff, Trump pulled a giant surprise by advocating for Russia to be re-admitted to the group, which used to be the G-8 before Russia “stole” the Crimea.
This is great theater. It demeans the Western leaders that had control of the globalist agenda until Trump arrived on the scene.
On the surface, the Group of Seven meetings convened Friday along a pristine stretch of Canadian riverfront appeared just like normal.
But beneath the smiling handshakes and whispered pleasantries was the unmistakable impression the global alliance of industrialized nations has changed for good.
President Donald Trump arrived expecting to tangle with his foreign counterparts on trade, a fight he proudly began but has been apprehensive about waging in person.
The leaders of France, Germany, Great Britain and Canada all planned to confront him directly about the tariffs on steel and aluminum that they believe threaten America’s closest world alliances.
But when the time came to air their grievances in public, the leaders here mainly sounded resigned to the fact their differences with Trump may never be resolved. And they made light of the disputes.
“Sometimes we disagree,” shrugged French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of a delayed meeting with Trump. Only a day earlier the two had been sniping at each other over Twitter.
When a reporter jokingly asked the two men to arm wrestle, Trump offered only praise.
“He’d be very tough to beat,” Trump said. “He’s my friend. We’ve had a great relationship right from the beginning.”
And during an earlier meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the summit’s host, Trump too attempted levity amid the rancor.
“Justin has agreed to cut all tariffs, all trade barriers,” he announced in jest as Trudeau grinned nearby.
When a reporter asked Trudeau whether he was disappointed the President was departing the summit early, Trump answered for him.
“No, he’s happy,” Trump said.
It was a signal the leaders assembled here on a forested outcropping in Quebec are intent on at least maintaining the appearance of comity, even as tensions boil over.
Trump departed the White House sounding defiant on trade, vowing to confront the leaders of America’s closest allies, who are infuriated at metal tariffs he applied last week.
But he arrived so late to the conference in remote Canada that he missed his first scheduled sit-down. And he’s planning to cut short his visit by several hours on Saturday.
The series of events opened what was expected to be a day-and-a-half of animosity between Trump and infuriated Western leaders, at least behind closed doors. The remaining six leaders are intent on bending Trump’s ear before the President departs early for his talks in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The stark reality of a US president skipping out on fuming Western allies to have what he’s described as a “friendly negotiation” with the North Korean despot has not been lost on diplomats and leaders assembled in the Canadian woods.
And Trump has done little to ease their jitters.
He suggested just before touching down in Quebec that Russia should be allowed to rejoin the summit after five years in exile — a break in the united front allies had hoped to put forward against Moscow’s destabilization efforts in the US and Europe.
The remark seemed destined to only escalate the existing tensions between Trump and the six other leaders gathered at a golf resort here. The annual G7 conference is usually a fairly news-free endeavor, with agreements on the global economy hammered out well before world leaders gather for two days of talks.
This year the normally staid affair has been imbued with uncertainty and bitterness. Few expect the assembled leaders will even agree on language for a joint “communique” that typically concludes the summit.
Ride that wrecking ball, Mr. President.