WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will skip most of the second day of a summit with allies this weekend, the White House said late Thursday, as he engaged in a contentious war of words over trade on the eve of a gathering that will underscore his isolation from the leaders of the world’s largest economies.
He will attend an early-morning session on “women’s empowerment,” but he will be gone before any joint statement is issued by the other leaders.
Earlier Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada lashed out at Trump for imposing tariffs on their steel and aluminum industries. They called it an illegal economic assault on their countries that is unanimously opposed by the other leaders of the Group of 7 who will gather Friday in a sleepy village in Quebec for their annual summit meeting.
“The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be,” Macron said Thursday in an especially acerbic tweet. “Because these 6 countries represent values, they represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force.”
Trudeau said at a news conference with Macron that “we are going to defend our industries and our workers” and “show the U.S. president that his unacceptable actions are hurting his own citizens.”
Trump responded with his trademark Twitter bluntness a few hours later, signaling that he has no intention of relenting on his aggressive trade demands and cares little about the diplomatic niceties that usually constrain public disagreements between the leaders of friendly nations.
“Please tell Prime Minister Trudeau and President Macron that they are charging the U.S. massive tariffs and create non-monetary barriers,” Trump wrote. “The EU trade surplus with the U.S. is $151 Billion, and Canada keeps our farmers and others out.”
He added, with a hint of sarcasm: “Look forward to seeing them tomorrow.”
Trump is scheduled to arrive Friday morning for the summit.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.