The G7 summit got underway on Friday under the specter of an escalating trade battle between the US and some of its longtime allies.
And the traditional family photo – featuring UK Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte – offers a glimpse of the tension.
For weeks, tensions have been bubbling up over an escalating trade battle, which started when the US placed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports on Canada and the European Union. Other G7 leaders are expected to retaliate with their own measures.
Until recently, Trump had good diplomatic relationships with Macron and Trudeau, but those connections appear to have soured in the past few weeks amid the tariffs controversy. Trudeau called them “frankly insulting” on “Meet The Press” with Chuck Todd.
The battle then played out on Twitter. Macron tweeted, “The American president may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a six-country agreement if need be.”
Meanwhile, Trump went after Trudeau in a series of tweets just hours before the summit. His office also announced he would cut his time at the summit short, leaving on Saturday morning after just one day at the two-day summit.
Trump ruffled some feathers early Friday by suggesting Russia should be allowed back into the G7 to make it the G8 once again. Russia was kicked out in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea in Ukraine. Every other participant disagreed with Trump’s suggestion except Italy’s new populist prime minister Giuseppe Conte.
If the photos are any indication, all of these diplomatic tensions aren’t going away anytime soon.