Mon Dieu! The globalists among us are all in a snit that President Trump attended the G7 Summit in Quebec and he didn’t play nice. Trump made himself perfectly clear before he left Washington Friday that he intends to make America’s trade deals great again. He will not allow other countries to impose higher tariffs on the U.S. without responding in kind. Why is this a surprise?
When Trump arrived in Quebec, he started off cordially enough with the others in the G7, our closest allies. There were handshakes and bon mots all around. Then as the meetings took place, things got a bit testy. It seems that Trump stood his ground and the other six leaders were none too pleased. He even told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the host, that foreign automobile imports would be penalized. This president is different than previous ones who just wanted to go along to get along. Trump fancies himself a master dealmaker and a disrupter.
Last year in Italy, Trump’s first G7, all went rather well. Trump skeptics (including me) breathed a sigh of relief. This year, however, Trump has the Singapore Summit with Kim Jong-un on his mind and wanted to blow off the G7 altogether. His aides convinced him that he should go so he did. Before going, he suggested that Russia should be allowed back into the group – formerly the G8 – and the tariffs were happening. The reaction from Europe and Canada was swift and exactly as you’d expect. Somewhere along the line, between hostile tweets and phone calls, the American press began writing that the G7 would be awkward and uncomfortable for Trump. Add the fact that he’d be traveling solo after Melania wowed the Europeans last year, and reporters were eager to watch Trump fall on his face.
Trump used the Singapore Summit as a convenient excuse to leave Quebec early. He avoided having to sit through lectures by our European betters on the topic of climate change as he left late Saturday morning. It is reported that he did agree to sign off on the communique, the joint statement with the European leaders and Canada at the conclusion of the summit. After Trump left, though, Trudeau held a press conference and trashed Trump.
Earlier Saturday, Trudeau criticized Trump’s recent decision to place tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, saying it was “insulting” that Trump cited U.S. national security as his reason for doing so.
“Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around,” Trudeau said at his own, separate news conference at the meeting’s end.
“I highlighted directly to the president that Canadians did not take it lightly that the United States has moved forward with significant tariffs on our steel and aluminum industry,” Trudeau said. “Particularly, [they] did not take lightly that it’s for a national security reason that for Canadians . . . who stood shoulder to shoulder with American soldiers in far off lands in conflicts from the First World War onward, it’s kind of insulting.”
Guess what happened next. That’s right. Trump took to Twitter and said, oh, by the way, the U.S. representatives won’t be signing off on that communique after all. Earlier Trump warned that he’d be willing to see America to go it alone if needed. (WaPo)
Earlier Saturday, Trump said he had floated the idea of countries dropping all import barriers, saying he would do the same in return. But he warned he could cut off U.S. trade entirely with countries that kept current rules in place, arguing they had taken advantage of previous administrations to take advantage of the United States.
“We’re like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing,” Trump said here at a news conference. “And that ends.”
But wait, there was one more tweet. He jabbed Trudeau by calling him meek and mild. Sacre bleu!
So, Trump is to land in Singapore in a few hours as I write this late Saturday night. Social media is as always – the Trump supporters are cheering and the bitter Never Trump chorus is aghast that Trump did as he said he would. One mean-spirited tweet, in particular, caught my eye. Bill Kristol, king of the Never Trump brigade, now seems to think international leaders should try to dictate American legal investigations.
How great would it have been if, after Trump's early departure from the G7, the other leaders had issued a statement calling for the Mueller investigation to be allowed to proceed unimpeded?
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 9, 2018
And he also latched onto a particularly popular photo being spread around the Twitterverse that is supposed to show Germany’s Angela Merkel lecturing Trump. Kristol puts a Meuller spin on it. Check out the expression on Japan President Abe!
Merkel: "Bitte gib Herr Dr. Staatsanwalt Robert Mueller mein Bestes." pic.twitter.com/YuiREj7MDv
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 9, 2018
Ugh. I remember when conservatives didn’t think Europeans and others should meddle in U.S. internal matters. Another prominent Trump antagonist, Senator John McCain weighed in, too, and apologized on behalf of America. Who asked him to do that?
To our allies: bipartisan majorities of Americans remain pro-free trade, pro-globalization & supportive of alliances based on 70 years of shared values. Americans stand with you, even if our president doesn’t.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) June 10, 2018
I’ll end with this observation – this is how we got Trump. This is how Trump has spoken for years. He hasn’t changed. Trump’s whole theme is America first. He’s the first to say he’s not afraid to walk away from negotiations or a discussion. Trump’s desire to disrupt the status quo is real. Why does anyone expect anything else now? As is said in Louisiana, laissez les bon temps rouler.