Trump got slapped down by G7 leaders after advocating for Russia

President Donald Trump derailed a major meeting with world leaders at the annual Group of Seven summit on Saturday evening after he insisted that Russia should be reinvited to the international gathering, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

At a dinner in Biarritz, France, the president interrupted talks of the fires in the Amazon and Iran’s nuclear capacity by advocating for Russia to be readmitted to the gathering of industrialized nations. Russia was expelled from the group in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine that violated international laws and agreements.

Trump’s comments initiated a discussion at the dinner about “whether the leaders should assign any special weight to being a democracy,” The Post reported, citing officials. While most of the world leaders staunchly believed they should, Trump didn’t.

A senior official at the meeting told The Post that Trump crossed his arms and appeared to take a more combative stance as multiple leaders rejected his comments.

“The consequence is the same as if one of the participants is a dictator,” an official told The Post. “No community of like-minded leaders who are pulling together.”

Officials told The Post that at least two of the leaders present — Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, and Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s acting prime minister — did not push back against Trump’s position.

On Sunday morning, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised French President Emmanuel Macron’s performance at the dinner. “You did very well there last night. My God, that was a difficult one,” Johnson said, according to The Post.

Trump on Monday said he would invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to next year’s summit.

“Would I invite him? I would certainly invite him,” he told reporters.

“Whether or not he could come, psychologically, I think that’s a tough thing for him to do,” because Putin is “a proud person,” he said.

The US is set to host next year’s G7 gathering, so Trump may have the power to unilaterally reinvite Putin.

Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and other leaders have made clear that they wouldn’t consider supporting Russia’s readmittance unless the country helps promote peace in Ukraine.

“One year ago, in Canada, President Trump suggested reinviting Russia to the G7, stating openly that Crimea’s annexation by Russia was partially justified. And that we should accept this fact. Under no condition can we agree with this logic,” Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, told reporters over the weekend.

Trump argued last week that it didn’t make sense to exclude Russia from the gathering “because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia.”

Trump hasn’t mentioned Crimea or suggested that Russia would need to make any concessions to rejoin the group, but has repeatedly said that President Barack Obama was “outsmarted” by Russia and demanded the country’s exclusion.

[Business Insider]

Trump denies bedbug infestation at Doral resort after club settled lawsuit in 2017

President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to slam Democrats for spreading a “false and nasty rumor” that his Doral, Florida, golf club, where he has said he hopes to host a gathering of world leaders for a major summit next year, is infested with bedbugs.

“No bedbugs at Doral,” Trump said. “The Radical Left Democrats, upon hearing that the perfectly located (for the next G-7) Doral National MIAMI was under consideration for the next G-7, spread that false and nasty rumor. Not nice!”

But in fact, a possible bedbug infestation was the subject of a 2016 lawsuit, in which a New Jersey man who sued for $15,000 in damages alleging that he woke up covered in bites and sores after a night in one of the resort’s villas.

According to a complaint filed in Miami-Dade County Court, Eric Linder, 66, awoke on the morning of March 8, 2016, “to discover that he had multiple welts, lumps and marks over much of his face, neck, arms and torso.”

Linder said he then issued a complaint to the resort’s management, who went to test both rooms he had stayed in for bedbugs.

“[Linder] was advised by the Trump resort staff and/or management that the guest room in the Jack Nicklaus Villa building tested positive for bedbugs,” the complaint alleged. “Trump National Doral and the Jack Nicklaus Villa building in particular, has a history of severe bedbug infestation, going back to at least the beginning of 2016.”

In a court filing responding to the lawsuit, lawyers for the resort denied all of the allegations leveled by Linder, and leveled an attack against Linder saying he, “conducted himself so carelessly and negligently that his conduct was the sole proximate cause or contributing cause to the events of which he complains.”

The resort never was compelled to expand on that attack, however, because it reached an out-of-court settlement with Linder and the case came to a close in May 2017.

The settlement included a confidentiality clause, so both Linder and the resort have been barred from speaking further about the matter.

Neal Hirschfeld, who represented Linder in the case, told ABC News that the president’s tweets “would not have any effect” on the settlement and said that the case is, “long over.”

Separately, Linder did not immediately respond to calls requesting comment on the matter.

[ABC News]

Trump claims to be an ‘environmentalist’ despite skipping G-7 session on climate change

President Donald Trump sought to defend his environmental record on Monday after skipping a meeting on climate change with world leaders at the G-7.

Asked in a news conference at the close of the annual gathering whether he still harbors skepticism toward science that shows global temperatures rising at a dangerous pace, Trump insisted that he was an “environmentalist,” even as he talked up his administration’s support for fossil fuels.

“I feel that the United States has tremendous wealth. The wealth is under its feet. I’ve made that wealth come alive,” he said, pointing to the United States’ rise to a global leader in oil exports and his efforts to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for oil drilling, an initiative that has hit a number of roadblocks.

But he again dismissed sources of renewable energy like wind power, referring to power generating wind turbines as “windmills” and telling reporters he didn’t want to waste America’s “tremendous” energy wealth on “dreams.”

Trump caused a commotion Monday when he skipped a session at the G-7 devoted to climate change, biodiversity and oceans, unlike every other leader from the group of leading industrialized nations. Following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump told reporters of the session that “we’re having it in a little while,” according to a pool report, and did not acknowledge when a reporter informed him that the session had in fact already happened.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham later said that Trump missed the session due to “scheduled meetings and bilaterals” with the leaders of Germany and India, adding that “a senior member of the administration attended in his stead.” Both Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the session, however.

Trump later told journalists Monday that “I want the cleanest water on Earth, I want the cleanest air on Earth and that’s what we’re doing — and I’m an environmentalist.” But he did not answer a reporter’s question about what he thought the world should be doing to address the growing climate crisis.

The president has repeatedly minimized the threat of climate change, pledging during his candidacy — and making efforts during his presidency — to revive the coal industry, expand offshore drilling, and open up public lands for onshore drilling as well as approving controversial pipeline projects and pushing a massive deregulation campaign.

During his first year in office, Trump controversially withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, making the U.S. one of the only industrialized countries not in the pact to reduce carbon emissions and make drastic changes to mitigate the climate crisis. He has also derided the Green New Deal that has become a de facto benchmark of environmental policy on the left, calling it socialist and saying he can’t wait to run against the idea in next year’s election.

“I want to be very careful,” Trump said of his environmental policy. “At the same time it’s very important to me, we have to maintain this incredible place that we’ve all built. We’ve become a much richer country and that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. Because that great wealth allows us to take care of people. We can take care of people that we couldn’t have taken care of in the past because of the great wealth. We can’t let that wealth be taken away. Clean air, clean water.”

Trump subsequently wrapped up the news conference, not allowing any follow-up questions on the topic. 

[Politico]

Reality

Donald Trump, the most anti-environmental president in U.S. history… period, labeled himself “an environmentalist.”

From withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, installing a coal lobbyist to the EPA who is rolling back clean air and water regulations, to rolling back Obama MPG standards for automobiles, allowing companies to pollute our streams, denying the fact that humans are warming the planet at rates never before seen, etc…

Trump falsely claims Melania Trump has ‘gotten to know Kim Jong Un’

President Donald Trump gave a joint news conference Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron before his departure from the G7 summit in France. He then stuck around to take additional questions by himself.

Trump made at least eight false claims, seven of which he had made before. (The new one was an odd claim about Melania Trump and Kim Jong Un.) And he made at least five claims that we’ll call misleading, questionable or lacking in context.

Melania Trump and Kim Jong Un

“The first lady has gotten to know Kim Jong Un, and I think she would agree with me he is a man with a country that has tremendous potential,” Trump said.

Facts FirstMelania Trump was not present for any of Trump’s three meetings with Kim Jong Un, and there is no evidence she has ever spoken to Kim.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement later Monday:

“President Trump confides in his wife on many issues including the detailed elements of his strong relationship with Chairman Kim — and while the First Lady hasn’t met him, the President feels like she’s gotten to know him too.”We’re still calling the statement false. Trump’s phrasing, “gotten to know,” clearly suggested some level of personal interaction between Melania Trump and Kim.

[CNN]

Beijing denies Trump’s claim that China called US officials to restart talks

President Donald Trump said U.S. and Chinese officials spoke Sunday and he is optimistic China wants to make a deal after the trade war between the two countries escalated in recent days.

“They want to make a deal,” Trump told reporters Monday during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Group of Seven Summit. “That’s a great thing.”

The conversations Sunday between the U.S. and Chinese officials were the first since the two countries lobbed a new round of tariffs at each other last week. Neither side formally broke off talks and White House officials had said they expected negotiations to continue despite the new tariffs. But investors had feared China could walk away from the negotiating table.

Speaking to reporters, Trump heaped praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping, calling him a “great leader” and said China wants “to do something very, very badly.” He said the calls were at the “highest levels.”

“We are probably in a much better position now than any time in the negotiations,” Trump said in a meeting Monday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

When asked about the phone calls, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said, “I haven’t heard about this.” News of Trump’s comments was breaking as he was addressing reporters.

Hours earlier, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said China sought “calm” negotiations and opposed an escalation.

“We are willing to solve the problem through consultation and cooperation with a calm attitude,” he said, according to Chinese newspaper Caixin. “We firmly oppose the escalation of the trade war,” he said, adding that it “is not conducive to China, the U.S. and the interests of people all over the world.”

Liu, China’s top trade negotiator, was speaking at a tech conference in Chongqing in southwest China, the Chongqing Morning Post reported.

The stock market fell sharply Friday after China announced it would slap retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods, and Trump hit back saying he would increase existing tariffs on $250 billion in imports to 30 percent from 25 percent Oct. 1.

He also said that a planned 10 percent tariff on a further $300 billion in Chinese goods would now be taxed at 15 percent starting next month.

But the continued talks and optimism from Trump eased financial market jitters. U.S. stock futures pointed to a recovery Monday morning, with Dow futures jumping more than 200 points.

Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said Sunday afternoon that he was anticipating a call from the Chinese this week and for Chinese officials to still come to Washington as planned.

“You’ve got both sides playing their game, we get that,” Kudlow told reporters. “As long as they are talking, I’m good.”

Trump also signaled a hint of optimism on Iran.

He said he didn’t feel disrespected by the surprise arrival of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at the seaside town where the meeting of world leaders is taking place. Trump said French President Emmanuel Macron let him know Zarif was coming on the day of his arrival.

“I don’t consider that disrespectful at all, especially when he asked for my approval,” Trump said of Macron.

But White House aides said they felt blindsided by the unanticipated visitor, and some were upset at the French over the move, U.S. officials said shortly after Zarif’s arrival.

A spokesman for Zarif announced that he had arrived in Biarritz at the invitation of the French foreign minister “to continue talks” between the Iranian and French governments.

Trump said it would have been too soon to meet with the Iranians, and he declined to comment when asked if he sent any message to Zarif. There is no indication Zarif would have been willing to meet with the U.S. officials.

Trump said he isn’t looking for regime change in Iran, but that he wants to see the country abandon its nuclear program and stop its terrorism funding before lifting financial restrictions that have crippled its economy.

“We are looking to make Iran rich again,” Trump told reporters Monday. “Let them be rich.”

[NBC News]

Reality

Beijing has no idea what Trump is talking about.

Trump skips G7 climate summit with aides lying about scheduling conflict

President Donald Trump skipped a session devoted to climate change at the G7 summit here, a snub aides wrote off as a scheduling conflict but nonetheless reflects Trump’s isolation on the issue.

As other leaders were taking their seats around a large round table, the chair reserved for Trump sat empty. The summit’s host, French President Emmanuel Macron, gaveled the meeting to order anyway and launched into an explanation of a wrist watch made from recycled plastic.

Later, the White House said Trump’s schedule prevented his attendance.

“The President had scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India, so a senior member of the Administration attended in his stead,” press secretary Stephanie Grisham said.

But the leaders of both those countries — German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — were both seen attending, at least for the start of the session.

An official said the staffer who replaced Trump worked for the National Security Council.

Speaking afterward, Macron seemed to shrug off Trump’s absence.

“He wasn’t in the room, but his team was,” Macron said at a news conference. He urged reporters not to read too much into Trump’s decision to skip the session, insisting the US is aligned with the rest of the G7 on issues of biodiversity and combating fires in the Amazon rainforest.

Still, Macron acknowledged Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord — a move that angered European nations, who remain part of the pact. Macron said it was no longer his goal to convince Trump to return to the agreement.

In the lead-up to the G7, Trump’s aides said he wasn’t entirely interested in the climate portions of the summit, believing them a waste of time compared to discussion of the economy.

After past G7s, Trump complained that too much time was spent on issues he deemed unimportant, like clearing oceans of plastics.

But Macron made climate one of the main focuses of this year’s gathering anyway, scheduling the session on Monday and insisting the leaders address the Amazon fires.

That was bound to create divisions between Trump and the other leaders. Trump has loosened environmental regulations in the United States, even as he claims that water and air are at their cleanest levels ever.

[CNN]

US President Trump reiterates call for Russia to rejoin ‘G8’

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump noted that his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, had wanted Russia out of what used to be the G8 “because Putin outsmarted him”.

“But I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in. It should be the G8 because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia,” Trump said, just days before a G7 summit — minus Russia — in Biarritz, France.

Trump added, “I could certainly see it being the G8 again. If someone would make that motion, I would be disposed to think about it favourably…. “They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

Russia pushed out after Crimea

Russia was pushed out of the G8 in 2014 because of its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

It was not the first time Trump has floated the idea of Russia getting back together with the G7, which groups the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Britain, Italy and Canada.

In June 2018, Trump suggested Russia should attend a forthcoming G7 summit in Canada. A Kremlin spokesman seemed to reject the idea, saying Russia was focused on other formats.

Two days later, President Vladimir Putin said Russia did not choose the G7 and would be happy to host its members in Moscow.

Trump has periodically called for closer ties with Russia, although his administration’s policy has included strong sanctions against Moscow.

He is due to host the next G7 meeting in the United States next year.

[France24]

Donald Trump wants to hold next G7 summit at his Failing Florida golf resort

President Donald Trump wants to hold next year’s G7 summit at his Doral golf resort near Miami.

Trump visited the Doral resort for the first time in his presidency this week after holding a rally in Orlando to attend a fundraiser for his re-election campaign, the Washington Post reported. It marked the 126th visit to one of his properties since he was inaugurated.

Trump likes to visit his own properties so much that he suggested holding next year’s G7 summit, a gathering of leaders from the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, at the Doral resort or one of his other luxury properties, former and current White House officials told the Post.

Aides said that White House staffers and even the White House counsel’s office have pushed back on Trump’s official visits to his properties and voiced concerns about the appearance of him using the power of the presidency to direct taxpayer money into his own companies.

Trump has not listened to the aides and overruled a recommendation against visiting his Turnberry golf club in Scotland last year. He has since visited his golf clubs in Ireland, Los Angeles and now South Florida on official trips.

The trips have been a boon for the resorts. His companies have earned at least $1.6 million in revenue from federal officials and Republican campaigns who had to travel with Trump, according to an analysis by the Post, which reported that the real number is likely much higher because the data used only covered spending through the first half of 2017.

Republicans have even “reshaped” their fundraising schedule, with one-third of fundraisers and donor events attended by Trump being held at his own properties, according to the report. Republican fundraisers told the Post that several groups have held events at Trump’s properties in order to increase the chance that the president will attend.

“The president knows that by visiting his properties, taxpayer dollars will flow directly into his own pockets. Then, unsurprisingly, the president visits his properties all the time,” Ryan Shapiro of the watchdog group Property for the People told the Post.

An earlier analysis found that the Trump campaign and more than three dozen members of Congress had spent upwards of $4 million at Trump’s properties.

The increased political spending at Trump’s properties is at the center of a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia, who allege that Trump’s profits violate laws barring the president from receiving gifts or additional payments from the federal government. Both attorneys general are also alleging that Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution because his Washington hotel accepts payments from foreign governments.

House Democrats passed an amendment in response to Trump’s frequent trips to his properties, seeking to bar the State Department from spending any money at his businesses.

“It’s against the emoluments clause of the Constitution to be making money out of the job,” said Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, a Democrat who sponsored the amendment. “And he does it every chance he can.”

Last year, taxpayers paid at least $30,000 for meeting rooms and hotel stays for then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other officials in luxury suites when Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.

According to State Department emails obtained by Property of the People, the rooms cost 300 percent more than the maximum amount allowed by government policies. Taxpayers were also hit with a $1,000 bar tab that Trump aides ran up at the club, ProPublica reported.

Trump’s repeated trips to his resorts came as both his Doral and Mar-a-Lago properties have struggled to draw non-government business.

Mar-a-Lago’s revenue fell by nearly 10 percent from 2017 to last year, according to Trump’s financial disclosure. Doral’s net operating income has plummeted by 69 percent since Trump took office.

“They are severely underperforming,” a Trump tax consultant told officials earlier this year while seeking tax relief for the properties. “There is some negative connotation that is associated with the brand.”

[Salon]

Trump’s private NATO trashing rattles allies

You’ve already read a hundred stories about President Trump’s clashes with some of America’s closest allies at the G7 summit in Canada. But we’ve got new details from his private conversations with heads of state that have put some of these leaders on edge leading into next month’s NATO summit.

What we’re hearing: In one extraordinary riff during his meeting with the G7 heads of state earlier this month in Quebec, Trump told the other leaders: “NATO is as bad as NAFTA.” An official read this quote to me from notes transcribed from the private meeting.

Behind the scenes: Trump made the comment after telling the G7 leaders that Crimea probably should belong to Russia because everyone there speaks Russian, the source added. Trump then went on his usual riff about Germany not paying its fair share of defense spending, said the Europeans weren’t paying enough and that the U.S. is being ripped off.

  • Then Trump said of the NATO Summit on July 11-12 in Brussels: “It will be an interesting summit. NATO is as bad as NAFTA. It’s much too costly for the U.S.”

Why this matters: NATO member states are worried about Russian aggression and they want an unambiguous sign that America has their back. By linking NATO to NAFTA — a trade deal that Trump considers an unmitigated disaster for America — Trump reinforced some of the Europeans’ worst fears that he’ll take a purely transactional approach to next month’s summit.

  • Officials from four NATO member countries have told me they’re worried Trump undercut the shared values and commitments of the NATO alliance by spending most of his time bashing NATO members for not “paying enough” and meeting their defense spending commitments.
  • Trump is broadly correct about the defense spending. Many NATO members have been shirking their responsibilities and are nowhere near their promise to spend 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product on defense.
  • But, as one senior European official put it to me: Trump could do a victory lap of sorts at next month’s summit, instead of bashing NATO members (which would please Putin.)
  • Trump, the official said, could point out that NATO members have been increasing their defense spending, and say that it’s only because of his pressure. The official said he hoped — but wasn’t confident — Trump would take this gentler, more diplomatic route.

When Axios shared this reporting with the White House, officials did not attempt to deny these specific comments that were relayed from notes from the G7 heads of state meeting. But NSC spokesman Garrett Marquis said: “The president engaged in a constructive dialogue with his counterparts at G7. Any allegations otherwise are simply wrong.”

1 fun thing: In the same meeting, Trump cracked to the leaders about what was then his upcoming Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un. “It’s like baseball,” Trump told the G7 leaders, according to the source reading from the meeting notes. “You never know if you are going to hit the ball.”

[Axios]

Trump reportedly tossed a Starburst toward Merkel during G7 summit

President Trump reportedly tossed a Starburst toward German Chancellor Angela Merkel during the G7 summit in Canada.

The candy diplomacy took place during a tense exchange that was caught in a memorable image of Trump with arms folded while surrounded by European allies, according to CBS News.

“Trump was sitting there with his arms crossed, clearly not liking the fact that they were ganging up on him,” Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer said on “CBS This Morning.”

“He eventually agreed and said OK, he’ll sign it. And at that point, he stood up, put his hand in his pocket, his suit jacket pocket, and he took two Starburst candies out, threw them on the table and said to Merkel, ‘Here, Angela. Don’t say I never give you anything.’”

The Starburst outburst took place just before Trump boarded a plane to Singapore and proceeded to berate allies, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

[New York Post]

1 2 3