What happened during President Trump's G7 spat

CNN's John King explains how the US ended up at odds with its ally to the north.

Posted: Jun 12, 2018 10:55 AM
Updated: Jun 12, 2018 10:55 AM

With only hours remaining before a historic summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea, it's easy to lose sight of what President Donald Trump (and some of his top staffers) said and did just before arriving in Singapore: Blow up an international gathering with some of America's closest allies with a combination of erratic behavior and hugely impolitic statements.

Whatever happens in Singapore over the next day or two, it's uniquely possible -- and maybe even likely -- that what Trump did in Quebec on Friday and Saturday will matter more in the country's long-term geopolitical future, and not in a good way.

Let's detail what happened in the 36-ish hours Trump spent in Quebec -- and what he and his allies said once he left.

  • Before Trump even jetted to the conference on Friday morning, he floated the possibility of Russia rejoining the G7. (Russia was kicked out of the group after invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea in 2014.)
  • Trump arrived late for a gathering of G7 leaders focused on gender diversity on Saturday morning. They started the meeting without him.
  • Trump held a, um, wide-ranging news conference before he left Quebec to jet to Singapore. In that presser, he described the meeting as a "10" out of 10 and insisted he had very close personal relationships with, among others, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  • After (apparently) watching a Trudeau press conference on Air Force One, Trump took to Twitter to attack the Canadian Prime Minister. "PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, 'US Tariffs were kind of insulting' and he 'will not be pushed around,'" tweeted Trump. "Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!"
  • Chief Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow went on CNN's "State of the Union" and called Trudeau's news conference a "betrayal," adding: "He stabbed us in the back."
  • Peter Navarro, a trade adviser for Trump, was even more damning in his comments about Trudeau. "There's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door," Navarro said on "Fox News Sunday." "And that's what bad faith Justin Trudeau did with that stunt press conference. That's what weak, dishonest Justin Trudeau did, and that comes right from Air Force One."

REMINDER: This is Canada we're talking about.

And, what did Trudeau say that was so over the top? "I have made it very clear to the President that it is not something we relish doing, but it something that we absolutely will do," Trudeau said of the likelihood of Canada imposing retaliatory tariffs on the US. "Canadians, we're polite, we're reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around."

The horror! Who could have predicted that when Trump imposed steel and aluminum tariffs against Canada -- citing national security concerns -- the Canadians wouldn't be happy and might strike back?

(Answer: Everyone.)

Here's the point: In the space of less than 48 hours, the President of the United States attacked the leader of Canada as "very dishonest & weak" and praised the leader of North Korea for working toward a deal on the Korean peninsula.

Sit with that for a minute.

There's no question that Trump ran on the idea that past presidents had mishandled dealings -- especially regarding trade -- with other countries. So at one level, this shouldn't be surprising.

But, the extent to which -- in a very short period of time -- Trump has clashed with long-time allies (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Australia and on and on and on) is remarkable. As is his willingness to publicly explode the usually staid and stage-managed international gatherings like the G7.

His allies have -- and will -- cheer his name-calling and his long-distance tendency toward confrontation. But it's worth asking the question of what toll unleashing a full-scale character assassination -- "there's a special place in hell" is pretty strong stuff -- on Canada's head of government means for how the US is perceived in the world.

It's hard to imagine other longtime allies of the US watching the shoddy treatment of Trudeau and wondering "Are we next?" Or, put another way: If Trump is willing to treat Trudeau, who he allegedly really likes, this way, what does that mean for us?

That unsettling, again, will be applauded by Trump allies. They should be put on notice! They have been taking advantage of us forever!

The reality, however, is different. The US has been a steadying force in international affairs for decades. We have been the prime mover in building and maintaining the post-World War II coalitions that have helped avoid a third world war.

If the US no longer plays that role -- or shrinks from it in any meaningful way -- the balance in the world is shaken and changed. And those changes are unpredictable -- and not necessarily beneficial to the United States. Power vacuums and power shifts are filled rapidly in politics and foreign affairs.

That is what Trump's behavior -- both this past weekend and more generally speaking -- creates the possibility for: Major reorientation of allies and partnerships worldwide. And that could well be a much scarier prospect than Trump's defenders would like you to believe.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1291181990
Lake635721103
Allen53899761
Hamilton44082449
St. Joseph42122590
Elkhart33803491
Vanderburgh30574449
Tippecanoe26915251
Johnson23727418
Hendricks22410342
Porter21832347
Clark17562231
Madison17492385
Vigo16302285
Monroe14545191
LaPorte14389239
Delaware14183222
Howard13971273
Kosciusko11498135
Hancock10935166
Warrick10737178
Bartholomew10635170
Floyd10514208
Wayne10077226
Grant9213204
Morgan8928160
Boone8463111
Dubois7791123
Dearborn769490
Henry7691133
Noble7466101
Marshall7409128
Cass7219118
Lawrence7026153
Shelby6647111
Jackson661386
Gibson6190107
Harrison609386
Huntington604495
Montgomery5853105
DeKalb581091
Knox5535104
Miami548888
Putnam543268
Clinton537465
Whitley529354
Steuben501768
Wabash488692
Jasper483861
Jefferson474492
Ripley457777
Adams446068
Daviess4231108
Scott409165
Clay394957
White393858
Greene393392
Wells389884
Decatur388797
Fayette378578
Posey362341
Jennings356056
Washington334747
LaGrange325175
Spencer321136
Fountain318455
Randolph317190
Sullivan309449
Owen287064
Starke282864
Fulton280454
Orange277859
Jay257038
Perry254152
Carroll245229
Franklin242838
Rush237030
Vermillion235050
Parke221420
Tipton212055
Pike211740
Blackford170534
Pulaski168551
Crawford147318
Newton145845
Benton143916
Brown135846
Martin130217
Switzerland126910
Warren115616
Union98511
Ohio80511
Unassigned0482

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1390015

Reported Deaths: 21820
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1541781574
Cuyahoga1361632341
Hamilton989691326
Montgomery681371161
Summit569981051
Lucas51769869
Butler48139663
Stark42350983
Lorain32165539
Warren30497338
Mahoning27564643
Clermont26081297
Lake24873422
Delaware22600147
Licking20818246
Fairfield20789223
Greene20667275
Trumbull20378516
Medina20178290
Clark18235332
Richland16749236
Portage16442231
Wood15973209
Allen14405261
Miami14063261
Muskingum12976155
Wayne12234244
Columbiana12046242
Tuscarawas11248271
Marion10935150
Pickaway10642129
Scioto10585127
Erie9888171
Ross9648177
Lawrence8967125
Hancock8637143
Ashtabula8509187
Geauga8272156
Belmont8262188
Jefferson7736175
Huron7566131
Union743951
Washington7396126
Athens712065
Sandusky6984135
Darke6884137
Knox6839122
Seneca6533137
Ashland6078115
Auglaize596888
Shelby5845104
Brown578272
Mercer565890
Crawford5591117
Defiance5579101
Madison552171
Highland550982
Fulton543583
Clinton535781
Logan520587
Preble5123111
Putnam4909107
Guernsey487664
Williams469982
Perry464454
Champaign454964
Ottawa443584
Jackson436663
Pike400745
Morrow398251
Coshocton393669
Fayette385053
Adams371575
Hardin367570
Gallia356658
Holmes3326111
Henry331869
Van Wert321471
Hocking312370
Wyandot286058
Carroll267052
Paulding247443
Meigs223042
Monroe193149
Noble174442
Morgan170329
Harrison161741
Vinton141919
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 65°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
61° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 61°
Huntington
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 65°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 65°
Van Wert
Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 73°
A weak cold front brings slightly cooler air to the region Tuesday.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events