As President Donald Trump had his first meeting with the other G7 nations, he made it clear that his desire for a working partnership would not override his “America First” stance on issues such as climate change.
Trump’s impact was shown in Saturday’s final statement about the meeting. Italian authorities wanted pages of text extolling the rights of migrants now sweeping across Europe and to have the partner nations support efforts to resettle them. Trump opposed this, and the final statement reduced mention of migrants to a few lines.
The summit, which included the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Britain, also noted that when it came to climate change, Trump would follow his own policy and not that of his partners.
“The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said later. “There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris Agreement or not.”
That uncertainty was reflected in the summit’s final statement.
“The United States of America is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics,” the leaders wrote.
“Understanding this process, the Heads of State and of Government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom and the Presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement, as previously stated at the Ise-Shima Summit.”
I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2017
Trump later tweeted he would reveal his decision about the Paris climate change accord next week.
Economic adviser Gary Cohn said Trump told leaders “the environment is very, very important to me, Donald Trump,” but the U.S. needs to have an unfettered approach to catching up to India and China in manufacturing.
“He didn’t want to do anything to put the U.S. at a disadvantage,” Cohn said.
“He wants to understand how we can bring back manufacturing, bring back jobs, but still be environmentally friendly, but not have a restriction enforced upon us that makes absolutely no sense,” Cohn said.
Trump used the summit as a chance to hear what other leaders had to say, Cohn added.
“He came here to learn. He came here to get smart. His views are evolving, exactly as they should be,” Cohn said.
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