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As world leaders gather in France, how Trump has changed the G-7

Friday’s new turmoil around the U.S. economy and trade war with China is coming at an important moment for President Trump, immediately preceding his arrival at the G-7 summit in France. Reporting from France, Yamiche Alcindor joins Judy Woodruff to discuss why other world leaders are now “even more anxious” about their upcoming interactions with Trump and what priorities are on their agendas.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    This evening, President Trump will be leaving Washington for southwest France, for this weekend's G7 summit of world leaders.

    Our White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor, is there ahead of the president's arrival.

    So hello, Yamiche.

    Given all that's going on today, it makes one wonder if these leaders are prepared for the unpredictability around President Trump.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, world leaders were already bracing for the president to be an unpredictable part of the G7 here in France.

    And now they're even more anxious, given the fact that the president has gone after the Federal Reserve chair and he is now escalating the trade war with China, saying that he is going to be escalating tariffs on them.

    And the important thing to note is that President Trump has had several raucous G7s. Last year, he refused to sign the joint communique that the others signed. As a result, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, said there won't even be joint communique floated this year.

    That's really the president then changing the way that international organizations and international groups are functioning. The president also pushed for and successfully got added to the G7 schedule a meeting about global economies. President Trump wants to use that meeting to talk about how strong the American economy is, and really talk about the fact that there isn't a recession coming, even though some economic — economists are really worried about that.

    He wants to also say that European leaders need to be pushing their economies to grow faster, and that the U.S. is really a leader on the economic world stage.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, in fact, Yamiche, we know the world leaders are planning to talk about their concerns about a global slowdown. Do they have a plan in mind for what to do about that?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    World leaders are very, very worried about the economic slowdowns that are happening all across the world.

    I have been talking to foreign experts about this. And they say not only is the U.S. looking at an economic slowdown, but there's China, there's Germany, there's Japan. All of those countries are looking down the line and seeing risky issues with their economy.

    The president doesn't have the same ideals as a lot of the world leaders that are coming here to France. A lot of them want to use the power of their — of the meeting of the G7 to work on trade issues, to work on climate change. The president doesn't have the same views.

    So, there are a lot of people saying that this is really the G6, plus one, which is the United States. There isn't right now a clear idea of what world leaders want to do to try to stop these economic — economies from slowing down.

    But what we see is people really coming here with a lot of anxiety.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And finally, Yamiche, and very quickly, we know they're also going to be talking about security issues around Russia, around Iran. Do they have a clear plan in mind for either one?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    President Trump has been using misleading information about why Russia was kicked out of what used to be the G8.

    They were kicked out because they annexed Crimea, which was a sovereign part of the Ukraine. President Trump has been using the false claim that Russia was kicked out because President Trump (sic) got outsmarted.

    It's still unclear whether or not world leaders are going to be open to the idea of even talking about Russia coming back into the G7, because experts tell me Russia's behavior hasn't changed.

    Add to that the fact that the French president, Emmanuel Macron, wants to talk about the Iran nuclear deal and wants to use the G7 to ease tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The president is going to be sitting down with Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the U.K., and they're going to be talking about Brexit and that issue.

    So it's still early to say how the security issues are going to shake out here.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    All right, a lot to keep an eye on you.

    Yamiche Alcindor there reporting for us, the G7 meetings getting under way tomorrow in Southwest France.

    Thank you, Yamiche.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Thanks, Judy.

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