/Trump: ‘Appropriate’ for Russia to return to G-7

Trump: ‘Appropriate’ for Russia to return to G-7

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump suggested his predecessor pushed Russia out of the then-G-8 because he had felt “outsmarted.” | Alex Wong/Getty Images

Russia should be part of the Group of Seven again, President Donald Trump said on Tuesday, suggesting that President Barack Obama pushed the country out because he didn’t like that President Vladimir Putin had “outsmarted” him.

Russia was suspended from what was then known as the G-8 — representing the world’s most industrialized and developed economies — in 2014 after it illegally seized Crimea from Ukraine, but Putin and Trump have downplayed G-7 leaders’ criticisms of Russia.

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“I’ve gone to numerous G-7 meetings, and I guess … because Putin outsmarted him, President Obama thought it wasn’t a good thing to have Russia in,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday at the White House. “He wanted Russia out, but I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in and it should be the G-8.”

It wasn’t clear what specifically Trump was referring to in his mention of Obama. He added that he would support a motion to reinclude Russia.

It wasn’t the first time Trump called for Russia to rejoin the group. At last year’s G-7 summit in Canada, he told a news conference that “it would be an asset to have Russia back in.”

The comments on Tuesday come after repeated clashes with other leaders in the G-7. Last year, the president tweeted that he had instructed U.S. officials to disavow a G-7 summit communique already finalized at the gathering in Quebec. President Emmanuel Macron of France hit back, maintaining that all of Europe would continue to support the statement.

“International cooperation cannot depend on fits of anger or little words,” Macron’s office said in a statement. “Let us be serious and worthy of our people.”

The European Union has also faced pressure to pick sides in Trump’s trade war with China, manifested this year in calls to ban the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, one of the leading network providers in the EU.

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