President Donald Trump will continue his marathon of meetings with world leaders Friday on the fifth stop of his overseas trip in Taormina, Italy, when he attends his first Group of Seven (G7) summit.
The annual meeting convenes the leaders of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy and Canada to discuss and promote solutions for major world issues.
But in contrast to the collaborative and at times even playful demeanor leaders would assume during the eight years President Barack Obama was in office, Trump’s emergence so far on the diplomatic circuit has shown his willingness to use the meetings to confront world leaders and openly express his grievances.
Trump’s speech at the opening of a new NATO memorial Thursday aimed to publicly call out countries who may not have paid their full share in recent years. It also rattled some diplomatic experts over the president’s decision to not explicitly express the U.S. commitment to NATO’s Article 5 collective defense treaty.
A key issue expected to be on the summit’s agenda is Trump’s weighing of whether to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, a decision that several leaders of the G7 countries have expressed could significantly undermine global efforts to combat climate change.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters aboard Air Force One Wednesday that the president would make his decision whether to exit the treaty upon his return to the U.S.
Also under the microscope during Trump’s meetings have been his body language and interactions with other heads of state. In particular reporters and social media have pointed out his lengthy handshake with newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron, his alleged “shove” to move in front of Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic and his face-to-face with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, who expressed dismay over an alleged U.S. leak of British intel from the investigation into the Manchester bombing.
In the evening following…