Trump plows into G-7 summit, facing foreign critics

LA MALBAIE, Quebec (AP) — President Donald Trump charged into a summit of major industrialized nations on Friday for contentious trade talks, injecting fresh drama into an already tense meeting by calling for the reinstatement of Russia, which was ousted for its annexation of Crimea. Trump made the comment at the White House Friday after hours of further escalating his rhetoric against longtime allies over U.S. trade practices. “Why are we having a meeting without Russia in the meeting?” Trump asked. “They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.” Solidifying his solo status on the world stage, Trump also lashed out at longtime allies over their criticism of his trade policies. He arrived behind schedule and planned an early exit from the G-7 meeting. Russia was ousted from the elite group in 2014 as punishment for President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. In the U.S., special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in a bid to sway the 2016 presidential election in his favor. President Donald Trump has arrived in Canada for meetings at the G-7 summit in Quebec amid rising tensions over trade. At a joint press conference on Thursday, Macron said: “A trade war doesn’t spare anyone. It will start first of all to hurt U.S. workers.” Trudeau, for his part, said Trump’s action would hurt American workers as well as Canadians, adding he hoped to get Trump to realize it was “counterproductive.” As tempers frayed, Trump had a ready retort, via tweet: “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.” the president appeared in no hurry to leave for Canada. He walked out of the White House more than half an hour late, spent time greeting supporters gathered on the South Lawn, and then proceeded to take questions from reporters for nearly 20 minutes. He weighed in on everything from the Russia investigating to protesting NFL players and his next pardons. With a cool reception all but assured, Trump has complained to aides about even having to attend the G-7, especially since his Singapore summit with Kim is just days away. He will leave early Saturday morning, and will skip meetings about climate change, clean energy and ocean protection. Under Trump, the United States has abandoned its traditional role in the G-7. His predecessors pressed for freer global trade and championed a trading system that required countries to follow World Trade Organization rules. Trump’s policies have been more protectionist and confrontational, driven by a perception that the U.S. has been the victim of poorly conceived trade deals. “The rules-based international order is being challenged, not by the usual suspects, but by its main architect and guarantor: the United States,” European Council President Donald Tusk said.