White House spokesman: Reports Trump would skip G-7 made us laugh

White House spokesman: Reports Trump would skip G-7 made us laugh
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White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley fired back on Thursday at reports that President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE might skip the upcoming Group of Seven summit to prepare for his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Speaking on Fox News, Gidley said White House staff laughed when they heard about reports that claimed Trump and his staff were considering pulling out of the annual G-7 summit in order to prepare for the June 12 meeting with North Korea.

"I saw some of those reports yesterday, we all kind of chuckled and laughed. We were in the meetings. He is going to the G-7. There is no plan to pull out of that," Gidley told Fox.

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Gidley's comments follow a report from the Chicago Tribune that Vice President Pence was preparing to stand in, if necessary, for Trump at the G-7 summit this week. Pence did stand in for the president at an April summit of Latin American leaders in Peru, the Tribune reported.

Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, also dismissed the reports of Trump's reluctance to attend the summit in comments to reporters on Wednesday.

"The president wants to go on the trip," Kudlow told reporters. "The president is at ease with all of these tough issues. He's proven himself to be a leader on the world stage and he's achieved great success, as I might add, in foreign policy. So I don't think there's any issue there at all."

The G-7 summit, which will take place in Canada, comes shortly after Trump's implementation of new trade tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union. The steep tariffs have prompted some concern of a possible trade war with key U.S. allies, an issue that will likely come up at the summit. Leaders of Germany, France, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom and Italy are expected to attend. 

Trump and Kim are scheduled to meet in Singapore on June 12 in what will be an unprecedented meeting between a North Korean leader and a sitting U.S. president.

The meeting was called off late last month over what Trump called "open hostility" from North Korea. The president pivoted on Friday amid a flurry of diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, announcing that the meeting was back on.

“We’re going to be June 12 — we’ll be in Singapore. It’ll be a beginning,” Trump said Friday, adding, “I think we’re going to have a very positive result in the end.”

Trump's announcement came after an extended meeting with Kim Yong Chol, a top aide to Kim Jong Un, in which the aide presented Trump with a letter from the North Korean leader.