On his way to the G-7, a summit of the world’s leading economies being held in Canada, President Donald Trump said Russia should be let back into the group four years after the country was booted after its annexation of Crimea.
Trump has been engaged in a bitter spat over tariffs with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of the meeting, which he doubled down on in Friday morning tweets and in an impromptu gaggle with reporters on his way to the three-day conference.
The president also doled out a history lesson to reporters, and asked why Russia is no longer part of the conference.
“It used to be the G-8 because Russia was in it,” he said. “And now Russia’s not in it.”
“Russia should be in this meeting. Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?” Trump asked. “I would recommend — and it’s up to them — but Russia should be in this meeting. Like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run.”
“We should have Russia at the negotiating table,” he added.
Russia was booted from G-8, under former U.S. President Barack Obama‘s leadership, after it invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea.
Trump made sure to hedge his comments against inevitable criticisms that he is deferential to Russia and its president Vladimir Putin:
“I love our country, I have been Russian’s worst nightmare,” Trump said. “If Hillary [Clinton] got in, I think Putin is going, man, I wish Hillary won, because you see what I do.”
[image via screengrab]
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