The G-7 Summit in Canada appears to have been no fun for anyone, as tensions flared to a point where many said it put on display how the West is in crisis. The main reason for all this tension? Why, President Donald Trump, of course. The U.S. president arrived to the meeting late, left early and seemingly had no qualms about getting into fights with the country’s traditional allies.
On Saturday morning, German Chancellor Angela Merkel posted an incredible photo to her Instagram that quickly went viral because it seems to capture that tension spot on. The photo shows Merkel leaning on a table looking at Trump as if her patience is wearing thin while the U.S. president sits with his arms crossed. Trump is the only one sitting in the photo that also includes several other world leaders. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, also has his arms crossed while French President Emmanuel Macron has a furrowed brow. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is also in the photo but her facial expression can’t be seen.
Before leaving early to go to Singapore in preparation for the summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, Trump said other world powers had been “robbing” the United States and vowed that would end. “We’re like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing,” he said. He warned the United States would “stop trading with them” if the current situation does not change. In a surprise move, Trump said that the Group of Seven nationsl should become a “tariff-free” zone but said other countries must go first because the United States always gets the short end of the stick. “I congratulate the leaders of other countries for so crazily being able to make these trade deals that were so good for their countries and so bad for the United States,” Trump said. “But those days are over.”
Despite the evident tensions at the summit, Trump vehemently denied it had been contentious, saying his relationship with his counterparts at the summit was “a 10” and describing the meetings as “extremely productive.” For others though, a more appropriate word may have been “frustrating,” considering they repeatedly tried to show Trump how many U.S. jobs depend on trade, but he was having none of it. He also set himself apart from the country’s traditional allies by repeatedly arguing that Russia should be invited back into the international group. “The G-8 is a more meaningful group than the G-7,” Trump said. Russia was kicked out of the group in 2014 for its illegal annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and the other G-7 leaders don’t seem quite ready to welcome the country back into the fold.