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Donald Trump calls Trudeau ‘dishonest & weak’, revokes US support to G7 communique

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WASHINGTON: The diplomatic world was left gobsmacked this weekend after US President Donald Trump caused havoc at the annual G7 summit in Canada before jetting off halfway across the world to Singapore to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with nothing more than a “getting-to-know each-other” agenda for now.

In scenes, remarks, and tweets that are unprecedented in the staid and circumspect diplomatic world, Trump brought the US-led alliance of advanced economies close to a rupture, refusing to sign a joint communique with the group and insulting his host by calling him a “dishonest liar” — all over the contentious issue of trade tariffs on which he feels the US has been stiffed.

Even India was drawn into the fracas, with Trump insisting his gripe on tariffs was not restricted to the advanced economies alone.

“This isn’t just G7. I mean, we have India, where some of the tariffs are 100 percent. A hundred percent. And we charge nothing. We can’t do that. And so we are talking to many countries. We’re talking to all countries. And it’s going to stop. Or we’ll stop trading with them. And that’s a very profitable answer, if we have to do it,” Trump said in a bewildering press conference before he departed Canada, insisting that the summit was a success and the level of relationship he shared with the G7 leaders was a10 on a scale of one to ten.

But the moment he left for the airport, he let the tweets rip his host. “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!” Trump tweeted.

“Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our US farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our US Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the US Market!” he added.

Having castigated his host and neighbour and disrupted and dissed the alliance of democracies, Trump tweeted about being on his way to Singapore “where we have a chance to achieve a truly wonderful result for North Korea and the World”.

“It will certainly be an exciting day and I know that Kim Jong-un will work very hard to do something that has rarely been done before… Create peace and great prosperity for his land. I look forward to meeting him and have a feeling that this one-time opportunity will not be wasted!” he said of his meeting with the reclusive North Korean dictator who has never travelled beyond China.

Both Trump and Kim arrived in Singapore by Sunday for their Tuesday meetings, even as the G6 were left to lick their wounds after what was widely described as a debacle in Quebec.

Kim arrived on a commercial Air China flight, reflective of a country so parlous that he does not have a personal or commercial airworthy plane that can take him farthest from home he has ever been.

Back in Canada, most astonishing aspect of the G7 meeting was the public shaming of a host and neighbour that has long been an American ally and with whom the United States shares the longest peaceful border in the world. Other G7 members didn’t seem impressed by Trump either.

The discord was captured graphically by the release of a photograph shot by an official Canadian lensman (and released by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office) which showed Trump sitting with his arms folded across his midriff looking petulant and defiant, with other leaders and officials crowding around him, seemingly hectoring him or pleading with him.

US officials later claimed that rather than Trump humiliating Trudeau, it was the Canadian PM who had insulted Trump — simply because he told his people that Canada would not be pushed around and challenged Trump’s assertion about high tariffs. Trump’s economic advisor Larry Kudlow went so far as to say Trudeau had betrayed the G7 and stabbed the US in the back.

“There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door…that’s what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference,” Trump aide Peter Navarro said on Fox News.

But not only did other G7 leaders not support the US version, even American diplomats challenged the Trumpist narrative. “Over the top embarrassing. Smallminded. Ludicrous. What else can one say about how low we have sunk,” remarked former state department official Nick Burns. “Americans stand with you, even if our President does not,” tweeted Senator John McCain.

Apparently, the US delegation did not want Trump to appear weak before he jetted off to meet Kim in Singapore.

Asked at the press conference in Canada if he is simply allowing Kim to win by giving him a meeting, Trump said “only the fake news says that” and as far as he was concerned, the US had got back three hostages from North Korea without paying anything.

The meeting with North Korea should have taken place a long time ago, Trump maintained, blaming his predecessors going back several decades for neglecting the country. He ducked a question on whether he had spoken to Kim over the phone recently. While Trump was excoriated in the liberal media for causing a G7 meltdown with dubious allegations and dodgy claims about tariffs, the pro-Trump right wing media celebrated his performance. “G7 Summit: Trump Gives Masterclass in ‘America First’ to Globalists,” read the headline of the lead story in Breitbart News.

Updated: June 11, 2018 — 3:09 am

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