Donald Trump took his rambling reality show to the world stage

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden team wants to understand Trump effort to 'hollow out government agencies' Trump's remaking of the judicial system Overnight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit MORE has taken his circus of personal aggrandizement abroad, joining leaders of the advanced world economies in the French seaside town of Biarritz for the Group of Seven summit. What little of the annual meeting Trump has attended has been split into different narratives of what actually happened and what the president claims happened.

Call it a tale of two summits. In reality, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan set an ambitious agenda that included an emergency meeting to address the blazing fires threatening the Amazon rainforest, tackling thorny issues of inflation and sagging development in Africa, addressing the spread of human rights abroad, and further plotting an international strategy to combat climate change.

You would not know it from his readout of the summit, where Trump kicked off his alternate reality tour with a ridiculous claim that the world leaders praised his governing genius while asking why the American media hates the United States when the country is “doing so well.”


Trump used precious time with the world leaders to make risible claims that were immediately tempered or outright rejected as factual by his G-7 partners. Take his claim that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to buy “all of that corn” left in American silos due to the trade war. Within minutes, the Japanese government issued a statement clarifying that an agreement had not even been drafted, much less confirmed.

At the emergency meeting to discuss how to bring the raging Amazon rainforest fires under control, Trump had the nerve to not show up at all. Instead of working with the international community on a critical issue that the United States is in a unique position to support, Trump spent his morning tweeting at the hosts of various Fox News programs.

But not to worry. According to Trump, world leaders had spent the day laughing at how “knowingly inaccurate” the American reporting of events is. World leaders are definitely laughing, but the mockery seems aimed at the distorted reality of Trump. Watching him stumble on the world stage would be cathartic if it did not represent a serious risk for our leadership and credibility. What astute observers see in the G-7 is an international coalition more comfortable than ever tackling big issues together, even if they have to move forward without the most powerful nation.

The United States has always been one of the most engaged members of the G-7. The conference served as the backdrop for President Obama to negotiate the Iran nuclear deal that international experts agreed was working until the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the agreement last year. Prior G-7 summits set the stage for the landmark Paris climate agreement, another sign of international cooperation that the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from two years ago.

Republicans once criticized Obama for “leading from behind” when it came to foreign policy. Under Trump, it seems like the United States is not interested in leading at all. It is a mystery why Trump even bothered to attend the G-7 summit over the weekend, except for the opportunities it presents to deliberately misinform the American people about what the United States is or is not doing on issues of international concern.


Sitting out G-7 meetings to watch Fox News does not make the United States stronger. It only makes our country more isolated. It makes the international community skeptical of our motives and our commitment to maintaining the global system that has made the world less violent and more prosperous. If the other world leaders can hash out their problems, despite many areas of disagreement between them, what does it say about our strength abroad if the United States sits out the G-7?

Americans deserve a president willing to fight for their interests and for the stability of the global system. They are simply not getting it from the reality show version of a summit with Trump on the sidelines.

Max Burns is a veteran Democratic strategist and senior contributor at Millennial Politics. He regularly makes appearances on Fox News, Fox Business, and Bloomberg Radio. Follow him on Twitter @TheMaxBurns.