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President Donald Trump called for Russia to be reinstated to the G-7 ahead of a summit with the leaders of the world's advanced economies in Canada on Friday.
Russia was previously kicked out of the group in response to the annexation of Crimea in 2014, but in comments made to reporters, Trump said he thinks it should be allowed to rejoin the group to form a G-8, according to The Associated Press.
“Why are we having a meeting without Russia in the meeting?” Trump asked. “They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”
The president's stance on Russia ahead of the G-7 summit fuels critics who say that Trump has been too lenient on Russia despite the Kremlin's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump's comments also work to isolate the president from other world leaders, amid escalating rhetoric with U.S. allies over trade restrictions put in place by the Trump administration in an effort to promote balanced trade deals.
At a joint press conference on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau voiced their tough stance against U.S. tariffs and said they'd use the G-7 summit to try to convince Trump to change his mind.
“A trade war doesn’t spare anyone. It will start first of all to hurt U.S. workers,” Macron said.
Trudeau, meanwhile, stressed that Canada will defend its own industries but that the tariffs will hurt both U.S. and Canadian workers.
“If I can get the president to actually realize that what he’s doing is counterproductive for his own goals as well, perhaps we can move forward in a smarter way,” Trudeau said.
Trump responded on Twitter, calling Trudeau “indignant” and bashing trade deals with Canada and the European Union.
Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers. The EU trade surplus with the U.S. is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out. Look forward to seeing them tomorrow.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2018
Trump will leave the G-7 summit early to head to Singapore for his highly anticipated meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12, but world leaders will no doubt take the time with Trump to negotiate better relationships with the U.S.