US blames Canada for G7 fiasco; Donald Trump says 'meek' Justin Trudeau 'stabbed us in the back'

Washington: The US blamed Canada on Sunday for the disastrous ending to the G7 summit, saying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "stabbed us in the back", while American allies held Washington responsible.

Just minutes after a joint G7 communique was published on Saturday in summit host city Quebec, President Donald Trump launched a Twitter broadside, taking exception to comments made by Trudeau at a news conference and saying he had instructed US representatives not to endorse the joint communique.

Trump's team kept up the barrage of criticism in the media. Trudeau "really kinda stabbed us in the back", top US economic advisor Larry Kudlow said on CNN's State of the Union. "He did a great disservice to the whole G7."

 US blames Canada for G7 fiasco; Donald Trump says meek Justin Trudeau stabbed us in the back

File image of Justin Trudeau with Donald Trump. Reuters

US trade advisor Peter Navarro, speaking on Fox News on Sunday, reinforced that message. "There's a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad-faith diplomacy with President Donald Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door," he said.

Kudlow sought to tie Trump's reaction to the upcoming summit with Kim Jong-un, saying the North Korean leader "must not see American weakness".

Trump, who has a history of hair-trigger responses to slights, landed in Singapore on Sunday for the Tuesday's summit meeting with Kim. Before his departure from Canada the previous day, he tweeted: "Based on Justin's false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive tariffs to our US farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our US reps not to endorse the communique as we look at tariffs on automobiles flooding the US market!"

German chancellor Angela Merkel, late Sunday, called Trump's revocation of support for the G7 joint communique "sobering and a little depressing", while adding, in a rare one-on-one interview with ARD public television, "but that's not the end" of the Group of Seven.

Trump in his tweet said Trudeau had "acted so meek and mild during our G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that ... he will not be pushed around", adding that it was "very dishonest and weak".

Trudeau had told reporters that Trump's decision to invoke national security to justify US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports was "kind of insulting" to Canadian veterans who had stood by their US allies in conflicts dating back to World War I. "Canadians are polite and reasonable but we will also not be pushed around," he said.

Trudeau said he had told Trump "it would be with regret but it would be with absolute clarity and firmness that we move forward with retaliatory measures on 1 July, applying equivalent tariffs to the ones that the Americans have unjustly applied to us".

After Trump's angry tweets, Trudeau's office issued a brief response. "We are focused on everything we accomplished here at the G7 summit. The prime minister said nothing he hasn't said before — both in public, and in private conversations with the president".

Canada's foreign minister Chrystia Freeland added that "Canada does not conduct its diplomacy through ad hominem attacks, we don't think that it's a useful or productive way to do business and perhaps we refrain particularly from ad hominem attacks when it comes to our relationship with our allies".

On Sunday, Trudeau ignored the barbs from Trump's advisors, tweeting a link to the G7 communique and hailing the "historic and important agreement we all reached". "That's what matters," he wrote.

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Updated Date: Jun 11, 2018 08:28:39 IST

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