What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Trump praises ‘unity’ at G-7, but diverges from other leaders on policy

President Trump is headed back to the U.S. Monday night after a G-7 summit marked by confusion and contradictions. Although Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron displayed affection throughout the weekend, they diverged on major policy questions, including the Iran nuclear deal, U.S.-China trade tensions and climate change. Yamiche Alcindor reports and joins John Yang with the latest.

Read the Full Transcript

  • John Yang:

    President Trump is headed home tonight with no apologies after a weekend at the G7 summit. He defended his policies and tactics today and played down tensions with the world's other economic powers.

    White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports from Biarritz, France.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    At the G7, a public show of harmony amid deep divisions. Presidents Trump and Macron ended the conference with the same kind of affection they displayed all weekend.

  • President Donald Trump:

    If there was any word for this particular meeting of seven very important countries, it was unity. I think, most important of all, we got along great.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    But the takeaways from the gathering itself were meager. The seven nations only agreed to a set of statements that filled a single sheet of paper. On many of the most pressing issues he discussed with the other leaders, President Trump pointedly disagreed.

    On Iran, Macron extended a last-minute invitation to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. The French president told Trump about the invitation only hours before Zarif arrived. Macron urged Iran to return to the nuclear negotiating table with the United States. The 2015 deal, which Mr. Trump pulled out of last year, hangs in the balance

  • Emmanuel Macron (through translator):

    There will have to be a meeting between the Iranian and American presidents. And I would wish that, in the coming weeks, such a meeting would take place. I want this meeting to happen, and I want there to be an agreement between the United States and Iran.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    President Trump said he is open to a meeting, but only under the right conditions.

  • President Donald Trump:

    If the circumstances were correct or right, I would certainly agree to that, but, in the meantime, they have to be good players. You understand what that means. And they can't do what they're saying they're going to do, because, if they do that, they're going to be met with really very violent force. We have no choice.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The president also defended his trade war with China. He said increasing tariffs would encourage Beijing to make a new trade deal. He also claimed that top Chinese officials were eager to negotiate.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I do. I think they want to make a deal very badly. Maybe they want to, maybe they don't, but I think they want to make a deal. I'm not sure they have a choice.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Sunday was filled with confusion and communications chaos after the president said he had second thoughts about his strategy with China.

  • Question:

    Any second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China?

  • President Donald Trump:

    Yes, sure. Why not? Might as well. Might as well.

  • Question:

    You have second thoughts about escalating the war with China?

  • President Donald Trump:

    I have second thoughts about everything.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    But his aides later said he was only reflecting on whether he should be even tougher on China. He also said his style of praising and then criticizing his opponents was a winning one.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Sorry. It's the way I negotiate.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    President Trump also defended his controversial push to have Russia again attend the annual meeting, returning the summit to the G8.

  • President Donald Trump:

    A lot of people say having Russia, which is a power, having them inside the room is better than having them outside the room. By the way, there were numerous people during the G7 that felt that way. And we didn't take a vote on anything, but we did discuss it. My inclination is to say, yes, they should be in.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    He also repeated his incorrect claim that Russia was kicked out of the group because Russia outsmarted former President Barack Obama. He claimed an angry Obama engineered the ouster because of Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

  • President Donald Trump:

    President Putin outsmarted President Obama. Wait a minute. And I can understand how President Obama would feel. He wasn't happy. And they're not in for that reason.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Why do you keep using the misleading statement that Russia outsmarted President Obama…

  • President Donald Trump:

    Well, he did.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    … when other countries have said that the reason why Russia was kicked out was very clearly because they annexed Crimea? Why do you keep repeating what some people would see as a clear lie?

  • President Donald Trump:

    It was annexed during President Obama's term.

    If it was annexed during my term, I would say, sorry, folks. It could have been stopped. But President Obama was unable to stop it, and it's too bad.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Russia's foreign minister said it has not discussed returning to the G7.

    Meanwhile, President Trump was the only G7 leader to skip a meeting on climate change, though, in his absence, leaders agreed on a $20 million aid package to help stop the wildfires in the Amazon.

    On climate change, the president said he didn't want to sacrifice economic progress in the name of the environment.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I'm not going to lose that wealth. I'm not going to lose it on dreams, on windmills, which, frankly, aren't working too well. I'm not going to lose it.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    With the end of this summit, President Macron passed hosting responsibility to President Trump. And he wants to host the 2020 G7 at his resort in Miami.

  • President Donald Trump:

    With Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings, we call them bungalows. They each hold from 50 to 70 very luxurious rooms with magnificent views. We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants. It's like — it's like such a natural.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Since 2015, Trump Doral's operating income has reportedly declined by almost 70 percent. But President Trump dismissed questions about the ethics of profiting from his presidency.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I'm not going to make any money. In my opinion, I'm not going to make any money. I don't want to make money.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    It's still unclear when President Trump will make his final decision on where to hold the G7 in 2020, but certainly many people will be watching, John.

  • John Yang:

    Yamiche, we heard you and saw you in that news conference press the president about his version of events of why Russian was kicked out of with a used to be the G8.

    Why does he stick with his story, the version of events?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, President Trump is insisting that Russia outsmarted his predecessor, President Obama, and he wants to stick to that.

    Now, it goes with what President Trump has done in the past, which is blame President Obama when he's frustrated and when he feels as though he's getting unfair criticism. He's blamed President Obama for child separation, which is falsely — a false accusation. He also blamed President Obama for not being tough enough on China.

    What is clear is that Democrats are already very frustrated with the stance of President Trump. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer put out a statement saying it's appalling that President Trump wants to add Russia back into the G7.

    He also said that it would make President Trump look weak.

  • John Yang:

    Tell us more about the French president's efforts to mediate between Iran and the United States.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    It's clear French President Emmanuel Macron wants to be a sort of middleman between Iran and the U.S. He said today that Iran is going to be having to get some sort of economic incentive in order to come back to the negotiating table and get something better than the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

    But President Trump hedged a little. He said he doesn't want to give Iran any sort of monetary compensation. But he said something could be worked out with some sort of oil credit or some sort of letter giving Iran some sort of other kind of monetary incentive.

    So it'll be interesting to see how that plays out. But Macron definitely wants to play a big role in that.

  • John Yang:

    And you also reported, Yamiche, that the president says he's losing money as president. What do other watchdog groups say about that?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The president says, by the time he's done being president, he will have lost between $3 billion and $5 billion. He hasn't offered any proof that.

    And most watchdog groups say he and his family are actually millions of dollars from him being president. An analysis by The Washington Post says that he's made at least $1.6 million for his properties because he's been visiting them in Florida and in New Jersey.

    And I spoke to a watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Their spokesperson said that they're actually looking at whether or not there's any legal action they can take that will prevent President Trump from holding the G7 at his Doral property.

    So we have to look out to see what watchdog groups might do on that issue.

  • John Yang:

    Yamiche Alcindor in a very stormy Biarritz, France, safe travels home, Yamiche.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Thanks, John.

Listen to this Segment

The Latest