President Trump minced no words on Friday saying that Russia should be reinstated to the leading group of industrialized nations. This challenge comes just ahead of his visit to the G7 summit this weekend.
These comments are a break from what key U.S. allies are saying and particularly troubling to some in America, given the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“Russia should be in this meeting,” Trump told reporters upon leaving the White House for the summit, which is being held in Charlevoix, Canada. “They should let Russia come back in, because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”
Trump’s invitation also comes in the wake of a special counsel probe into his own campaign possibly colluding with Russia.
The country was suspended from the group, then known as the G8, in 2014 after the majority of the members allied against Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which they continue to hold.
When Putin was asked this week what would need to happen for Russia to return Crimea to the Ukraine, he said, “there are no such conditions and there can never be.”
Trump Deepening the Divide with U.S. Allies
Trump’s most recent comments about Russia deepen a growing divide between the United States and our closest allies. Russia’s annexation of Crimea is the first violation of a European country’s borders since World War II. Trump’s willingness to look the other way will particularly deepen tensions with allies such as the UK, France and Germany. These countries are already furious about US trade tariffs, and Trump’s rejection of the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement.
Trump has significant opponents on his home turf as well. His refusal to condemn Russia’s aggression and his continual push to restore normal relations with Moscow raises many questions.
On Thursday, Trump engaged in a heated back-and-forth with French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over Twitter. He will see them both face-to-face on Friday.
On Thursday, Macron said the leaders would not rule out a 6+1 communique in contrast to the traditional document signed by all leaders at the end of the summit with shared goals and principles.