The G7 summit got underway on Friday under the specter of an escalating trade battle between the US and some of its longtime allies.
And the traditional „family photo” — featuring UK Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte — offers a glimpse of the tension.
For weeks, tensions have been bubbling over an escalating trade battle fueled by the US’s imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Canada and the European Union. Other G7 leaders are expected to retaliate with their own measures.
Until recently, Trump had good diplomatic relationships with Macron and Trudeau, but those connections appear to have soured in the past few weeks amid the tariffs controversy. Trudeau called the move „frankly insulting” on „Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd on Sunday.
The battle has also played out on Twitter. On Thursday, Macron tweeted, „The American president may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a six-country agreement if need be.”
Meanwhile, Trump went after Trudeau in a series of tweets just hours before the summit on Friday. The White House also announced he would cut short his time at the two-day summit and leave on Saturday morning.
Trump ruffled some feathers early Friday by suggesting Russia should be allowed back into the G7 to once again make it the G8. Russia was kicked out in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea. Every other participant disagreed with Trump’s suggestion except Conte, Italy’s new populist prime minister.
If the photos are any indication, these diplomatic tensions aren’t going away anytime soon.