President Trump seemed unconcerned about ruffling a few feathers Friday at the annual Group of Seven nations summit in Canada.
He arrived late at the summit site in Quebec, and he’s already announced he will leave the party early, probably missing a meeting on climate change.
Mr. Trump also delayed a one-on-one meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, whom he feted with a state dinner at the White House in April.
The president called for the G-7 to readmit Russia, to the shock of the other foreign leaders, who, in concert with then-President Barack Obama had kicked the country out of the club as a rebuke to Moscow for illegally annexing Crimea.
The United Kingdom pointed out that Russia was responsible for poisoning a former double agent in England earlier this year.
Mr. Trump did smile and wave with the other leaders at the traditional posed “family photo,” on a bluff high above the St. Lawrence River, despite the obvious tensions. He was positioned between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has called Mr. Trump’s tariffs “insulting,” and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who predicted “controversial discussions” with the president on trade.
Late in the day, however, Mr. Trump reported making “a lot of progress” on trade in a meeting with Mr. Trudeau.
“Our relationship is very good,” the president said. “We’re actually working on cutting tariffs and making it all very fair for both countries. We’ll see how it all works out.”
He joked to reporters that “Justin has agreed to cut all tariffs,” which made Mr. Trudeau laugh. Mr. Trudeau responded, “I’d say NAFTA is I good shape,” prompting both of them to laugh again.
Mr. Trump also said he expects the G-7 leaders, himself included, to agree on a joint statement by the time the summit ends on Saturday. Heading into the summit, the other leaders had expressed doubt about the prospects of agreeing on a concluding statement.
Before the president arrived at the summit, he criticized Canadian tariffs on U.S. dairy products, adding that he was “looking forward to straightening out unfair Trade Deals with the G-7 countries.”
Mr. Macron, feuding with Mr. Trump over U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, tweeted that he and the other six leaders were prepared to turn their backs on Mr. Trump at the summit.
“The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be,” Mr. Macron said. “Because these 6 countries represent values, they represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force.”
The president said he was unconcerned about raising a trade ruckus at the gathering that usually emphasizes unity and downplays its disagreements.
“When it all straightens out, we’ll all be in love again,” Mr. Trump said.
As the leaders sat down to a working session Friday afternoon, Mr. Trump showed that he knows how to find common ground with his fellow leaders — by poking fun at the media.
Noting the presence of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Doug Mills of The New York Times, Mr. Trump told the other G-7 leaders at the table,
“He’s the number one photographer in the world. Unfortunately, he works for The New York Times.”
Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Trudeau laughed.