President Donald Trump plans to depart from this weekend's Group of 7 summit in Canada several hours early, the White House announced Thursday, punctuating an explosion of acrimony between Trump and his foreign counterparts on the eve of the talks.
The White House said Trump would depart mid-morning on Saturday, skipping sessions on climate change and the environment. An aide will take his place, the White House said.
The announcement came as Trump engaged in a bitter back-and-forth with French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over Twitter, both of whom he'll meet face-to-face on Friday.
Trump is expecting a knock-down, drag-out fight with top US allies over trade during his time at the conference, held in remote Quebec. It's a battle he believes he can win, but which he's unenthusiastic about waging in person, people familiar with his thinking say.Trump doesn't want to be anywhere that he's not revered and he knows that won't be the G 6 + 1.
Trump blew up this evening on Twitter:
He tweeted again later Thursday night, complaining about the trade practices of the European Union and Canada.
Why isn't the European Union and Canada informing the public that for years they have used massive Trade Tariffs and non-monetary Trade Barriers against the U.S. Totally unfair to our farmers, workers & companies. Take down your tariffs & barriers or we will more than match you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 8, 2018
It was an astonishing broadside against two US allies, but one that was perhaps expected as Trump enters the contentious talks.
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.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2018
Prime Minister Trudeau is being so indignant, bringing up the relationship that the U.S. and Canada had over the many years and all sorts of other things...but he doesn't bring up the fact that they charge us up to 300% on dairy — hurting our Farmers, killing our Agriculture!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2018