US President Donald Trump has said Russian Federation should also be attending a Group of Seven nations (G7) summit, a controversial idea even Moscow seemed to reject, as he headed for a chilly reception at the meeting in Canada, where other G7 leaders are set to clash with him over trade.
Trump will be gone before any joint statement is issued by the other leaders.. As expected he did not budge.
In May, the president announced his administration would impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union - all of which announced retaliatory tariffs against the U.S.in recent days.
"The rules-based global order is being challenged, not by the usual suspects but by its main architect and guarantor: the United States", said European Council President Donald Tusk. But the president's Twitter feed Thursday suggested he'll arrive in Quebec with his elbows up.
Macron said the message of other G7 leaders to Trump on the Iran deal should be: "You're not comfortable with an agreement signed by your predecessor, maybe just because it was signed by your predecessor, but don't stop others from respecting it and don't push Iran to leave, because today it's the best protection we have".
The president cited Section 232, a rarely used law allowing the U.S.to take actions in the interest of national security, in his continued efforts to secure free and fair trade.
The relationship has reportedly frayed to the point where Trump was considering sending Vice President Mike Pence to the G7 summit in his place, according to a Washington Post report.
Merkel said it was not clear whether the group would issue a final directive, adding that failure to do so would be an honest reflection of the lack of agreement among Canada, the United States, Japan, Britain, Italy, France and Germany.
Canada and the European Union rejected the notion immediately, while only Italy was open to the idea.
Trump set the tone before leaving Washington on Friday.
"The American president may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a six-country agreement if need be", Macron said, adding that USA workers would be the first to suffer from a trade war between Europe and the US.
But Trump, who frames his trade moves as a fulfillment of his campaign promises, is vowing to hold firm, tweeting Thursday: "Take down your tariffs & barriers or we will more than match you!" We have to change it.
"Trump is very selfish and I think he views flattery as a one-way street where he gets flattered and then there's no real reciprocal benefit going back the other direction", one former White House official told Politico. On the agenda for the two-day summit will be economic growth, employment, gender equality, climate change and world peace.
As he prepared to travel to Canada, he ramped up his blast of Canada on Twitter this morning over what he says are unfair trade practices. "Ask this great lady".
Trump took the action on the grounds that weak domestic industries could affect US national security.
Trump also railed against French President Emmanuel Macron, after Macron likened him to a rogue leader.
Macron made initial headway in forming a public friendship with Trump, but has failed to sway the United States leader on any issue, while Merkel has been distracted by coalition negotiations.