Trump At The G-7

Jun 9, 2018
Originally published on June 9, 2018 4:45 pm
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

President Trump wrapped up his time at the G-7 with a press conference, his first in a while. And he said that the countries that make up that industrial group would have to change their practices or face consequences. NPR's Ayesha Rascoe is in Quebec for the summit, joins us now. Ayesha, thanks so much for being with us.

AYESHA RASCOE, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: And how would you summarize President Trump's message at the end of the summit?

RASCOE: He said, once again, that the U.S. has been treated unfairly, and he basically demanded that that would stop. He's upset because he says these other countries in the G-7 and beyond have tariffs on the U.S. that the U.S. doesn't match. And so he's saying that that has to change. And he's saying that even though he gets along with the other leaders, he made clear - I think at one point he said that he would rate the relationship a 10. But he said - and he said he doesn't blame them, but he feels like the U.S. has been treated unfairly.

The other countries have said, for their - in their defense, that the U.S. doesn't have a right to put tariffs on steel and aluminum because it's not really a national security issue. They don't feel like the U.S. has really made that case. And they would also probably point to the fact that the U.S. does have its tariffs on certain issues and does protect certain industries.

SIMON: President Trump had said a couple of days ago that he thought G-7 should be G-8 again, with Russia being let back in. Did he expand on that or retreat from that or say anything about that?

RASCOE: He did not retreat. He definitely said that he thinks that Russia should be back in the G-8. He said this is about world peace. It shouldn't be about playing games. And he actually also said that he thinks that the G-8 would basically have more clout than a G-7, and he thinks that this would be good.

He also took the time to kind of blast the Obama administration when someone brought up the fact that the reason why Russia is not in the G - what was the G-8 is because that they annexed Crimea. And, basically President Trump was blaming President Obama, saying that President Obama shouldn't have let Russia take Crimea, and that that's something that you have to ask the Obama administration about. But basically, that's over now, and that Russia should be back in.

SIMON: What about the outlook - and what did the president have to say about the big summit meeting he has coming up with Kim Jong Un in Singapore that begins on June 12?

RASCOE: President Trump actually said that he would know really quickly whether this meeting with North Korea's leader, Kim - whether it would be successful. Let's listen to what he had to say.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You know if you're going to like somebody in the first five seconds. You ever hear that one? Well, I think that very quickly, I'll know whether or not something good is going to happen.

SIMON: Of course, the president has - I think we can fairly say - been defending what some White House sources have reported is his relative lack of preparation for the summit by saying, it's not about preparing point-by-point so much as it is about attitude. And...

RASCOE: Yes. He's...

SIMON: Yeah. Go ahead. Please.

RASCOE: Yes. He says it's about his - about attitude. It's about how you carry yourself. But he is saying that he's optimistic that the meeting will be a success because it - he says it offers a great opportunity for Kim to help North Korea. But he does say it's a one-time shot.

SIMON: NPR's Ayesha Rascoe up in Quebec, where she's been covering the G-7 summit. Thanks so much for being with us.

RASCOE: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.