Administration

Trump argued with other G-7 leaders at private dinner over inviting Putin: report

President Trump reportedly clashed with other leaders during a private dinner on the opening night of the Group of Seven (G-7) summit as he lobbied for Russia’s readmission to the organization.

The president spent the days prior to the summit suggesting Russia should be allowed to rejoin the group and restated his case throughout the weekend in Biarritz, France.

CNN and The Washington Post reported that the president received pushback from other attendees during a dinner on Saturday night.{mosads}

CNN reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were among those most opposed to the idea.

The Washington Post reported that other leaders felt it should carry additional weight if member nations are democracies, while Trump disagreed.

The White House declined to comment on the reports.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that the G-7 members had not reached a consensus on readmitting Russia, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Russia’s continued aggression toward Ukraine made it ineligible to rejoin.

Russia was expelled in 2014 from what was then the G-8 over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

The split over Russia marked one of the most high profile differences of opinion among attendees during the weekend. Trump has repeatedly insisted that there was unity among leaders at the G-7 and criticized media reports suggesting otherwise.

The United States will host the G-7 next year, and Trump can unilaterally invite guests. At a press conference on Monday, Trump said he would “certainly” invite Putin, arguing that it did not make sense for Russia to be excluded from global talks.

“I think it would be better to have Russia inside the tent than outside the tent,” Trump said. “Do we live either way? Yes, we live either way. Is it politically popular for me to say that? Possibly not.”

In a break with diplomatic norms, Trump lashed out at his predecessor while on the world stage. He claimed multiple times on Monday that Putin had “outsmarted” former President Obama when he invaded and annexed Crimea.

Trump has insisted the U.S. would benefit from a closer relationship with Russia. But he has drawn criticism from Democrats for his often friendly rhetoric toward Russia and Putin, particularly in the wake of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that established Moscow sought to interfere in the 2016 election to help the president.

Tags Crimea Donald Trump Emmanuel Macron G-7 Justin Trudeau Robert Mueller Russia
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