Trump to leave G-7 summit early, travel directly to Singapore

Trump to leave G-7 summit early, travel directly to Singapore
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE plans to cut short his visit at the Group of Seven summit in Canada on Saturday and fly directly to Singapore for his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday evening that Trump will depart the G-7 summit mid-morning on Saturday after a session on women's empowerment. A White House aide will represent the U.S. for the remainder of the summit.

Trump is set to meet with Kim in Singapore on Tuesday in what will be the first meeting between a sitting U.S. president and North Korean leader in history.

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The decision to depart the G-7 meeting — a gathering of some of the United States's closest allies — early comes as Trump finds himself locked in a public feud with several leaders who are set to attend the summit on Friday and Saturday.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have presented a united front against what they have deemed as Trump's protectionist trade measures, particularly his decision late last month to rescind a waiver from steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports for Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

Other G-7 leaders, including British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have also spoken out against the tariffs. 

Trump engaged in a war of words with Trudeau and Macron on Thursday, accusing their countries of benefiting from one-sided trade arrangements with the U.S.

“Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers,” Trump tweeted. “The EU trade surplus with the U.S. is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out.”

Macron was biting in his criticism of Trump, saying that the other six leading industrialized countries at the summit could get along there without the U.S.

Sanders did not say whether the dispute between Trump and his fellow G-7 leaders had anything to do with the decision to depart for Singapore days before his summit with Kim.

--Updated at 10:35 p.m.