President Trump revealed he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were not actually in the middle of a confrontational moment when a now-viral photo was taken during the G-7 summit.
The leaders were waiting for a final draft of a joint statement at the economic summit of world leaders when the iconic photo was taken, leading many to interpret the scene according to their pro or anti-Trump views.
But the president elaborated on the image, which showed him sitting with his arms crossed facing the leaders from the other Group of Seven nations.
“We finished the meeting, really, everybody was happy, and I agreed to sign something,” Trump said at a news conference in Singapore following his meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. “I asked for changes. I demanded changes. And in fact, those changes were made. That picture was, we were waiting for the document.”
Trump supporters applauded what appeared to be the president’s staunch defense of America’s priorities, even in the face of world pressure. His critics, naturally, lambasted Trump for being arrogant and defiant.
“Actually, we were just talking — the whole group — about something unrelated to everything, very friendly,” Trump told reporters.
The president brought up the photo while answering a question about a tweet in which he said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was “very dishonest and weak” after Trudeau lashed out at Trump for proposing U.S. tariffs in a news conference following the summit.
“Canada does have a very big advantage over us. We have a very big trade deficit with Canada. They don’t take our farm products,” Trump told reporters. “We are being taken advantage of by virtually every one of those countries.”
The president had left the G-7 summit in agreement with the joint statement (or communique) following the summit but backed out, slamming Trudeau, after his backstabbing behavior.
“When I got out to the plane, I think that Justin probably didn’t know that Air Force One has about 20 televisions. And I see the television and he’s giving a news conference about how he will not be pushed around by the United States and I say push him around? We just shook hands. It was very friendly,” Trump recalled.
“No, I have a good relationship with Justin Trudeau. I really did, other than he had a news conference, that he had because he assumed I was in an airplane and I wasn’t watching,” Trump continued, warning that Canadians will pay a high price for Trudeau’s actions.
“That’s going to cost a lot of money for the people of Canada,” Trump said. “He learned. You can’t do that. You can’t do that.”
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