Trump At G7

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Tension At G-7 Summit As Trump Joins Angry Allies

June 08, 2018 - 2:40 pm
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LA MALBAIE, Quebec (WCBS 880/CBS News) -- World leaders gathered at the G7 summit in Canada Friday, as President Donald Trump continues to feud with some of those allies over trade.

Trump arrived late to the summit Friday afternoon, postponing a scheduled meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, whom Trump has criticized. The president insists France, Canada, the European Union and other allies are ripping off America on trade.

"We're going to deal with the unfair trade practices," Trump said before departing Friday. "If you look at what Canada, Mexico, the European Union, all of them have been doing to us for many, many decades, we have to change it. And they understand it's going to happen."

Trump, seated next to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said he thinks the relationship between the U.S. and Canada is probably better than it's ever been. Trump said they have made progress on trade, after blasting Trudeau on Twitter.

Only the day before the G7 summit, Mr. Trump said, "Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the U.S. and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things...but he doesn't bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy — hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture!"

The U.S. and Canada have recently been at odds about dairy imports, CBS News White House Correspondent Steven Portnoy explained.

“It has to do with a very particular milk product that’s used in butter and cheese. But suffice it to say that the president is advocating for the interest of American dairy farmers. He wants them to be able to sell their milk product in Canada. And the Canadian prime minister is trying to defend the interest of the Canadian dairy sector,” Portnoy said. “The president said before leaving the White House this morning that he hopes to negotiate a new NAFTA, or he’ll terminate NAFTA, and there’ll be another deal of some type. He says it would be very easy to achieve that.”

Trump did later meet briefly with Macron. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says they discussed trade.

A more formal meeting between the two was expected later Friday.

Macron's office said Trump asked to see him, and they discussed North Korea and trade during a "very cordial discussion" of about 10 minutes.

Macron tweeted video of the meeting at the Group of Seven summit site in Quebec. His caption said: "Pursuing the conversation. Engaging, keeping the dialogue alive, now & ever. Sharing, reaching out, always, to promote the interests of the French people, and all those who believe in a world we can build together. With President Donald Trump, prior to the opening of G7 Summit."

Trump earlier slammed Macron along with Trudeau on Twitter. claims France, Canada and other nations are taking advantage of the U.S. on trade.

"Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers. The EU trade surplus with the U.S. is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out. Look forward to seeing them tomorrow," Trump tweeted Thursday. 

That tweet came after Macron said France is fine with signing six-country agreement, instead of a seven-country agreement, "if need be." 

"The American president may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be," Macron tweeted. "Because these six countries represent values, they represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force."

That back-and-forth comes despite Trump's praise of Macron in past visits

Meanwhile, Trump also said he thinks Russia should have a seat at the table. Russia was ousted from the group in 2014 because of its approach to Crimea. 

"Russia should be in this meeting. Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting? And I would recommend, and it's up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting, it should be a part of it," Trump said, adding that "they should let Russia come back in."

The other G-7 countries do not agree.

“He says that if we’re talking about issues of importance to the world, that Russia deserves a seat at the table – no matter how politically incorrect that might seem. Well, the European allies, who were already upset with the president with his stance on trade, are even more alienated, perhaps, by this idea of inviting Russia back into this club,” Portnoy said. “Russia was included by the Group of Eight, which became the Group of Seven, back in 2014 after Russia invaded Crimea. Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, today said that the European nations are not ready to receive Russia as part of this elite group of the world’s largest industrialized democracies.”

CBS News Correspondent Paula Reid said it seemed to some that Trump did not seem to want to go to Canada at all, though it also seemed that he relished the fight. But Reid said many voted for Trump because he promised to stand up for America – even if that means alienating allies.

“They want him to go and be what they believe is a tough negotiator. They want him to get the best quote-unquote ‘deal’ for America. The president said he’s willing to walk away. He’s willing to dissolve agreements for whatever it takes to get the best deal for the U.S.,” Reid said. “But our allies, as you’ve seen over the past few days, they’ve said, ‘Look, if we have to go forward as a group of six and make agreements ourselves to uphold the values that we believe in, we will do that.”

(© 2018 WCBS 880. CBS News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.)