President Trump skipped a key session at the Group of Seven (G-7) summit summit in France focused on climate, biodiversity and oceans.
When reporters were allowed in to observe part of the session on Monday, Trump’s seat was empty.
President Trump was not present for a working session on the climate,
biodiversity and oceans.
The rest of the G7 leaders were there -Johnson, Abe, Macron, Trudeau, Merkel. Trump’s seat was empty per the pool.
— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) August 26, 2019
This morning Trump was not present for a G-7 climate session.
The rest of the G-7 leaders were there.
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) August 26, 2019
“The President had scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India, so a senior member of the Administration attended in his stead,” press secretary Stephanie Grisham later told reporters.
Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel a short time after the climate session had ended and was asked by a reporter if he had attended.
“I’m going to. In fact, it’s going to be in a little while. I want clear air and clean water,” Trump said.
It was not clear if Trump heard the reporter who noted the session had just happened.
During the climate meeting, French President Emmanuel Macron said that G-7 leaders approved a $20 million aid package to help Brazil and other South American countries address fires raging in the Amazon rainforest.
The Hill adds:
Reuters reported that Macron told reporters that they should not “interpret” Trump’s absence from the session, and that the U.S. was aligned with other nations in biodiversity and the Amazon rainforest issues.
The president also pledged shortly after taking office that he would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, a global pact to reduce emissions and fight climate change that each of the other G-7 members has signed.
The president left last year’s G-7 summit in Canada early and missed a session on climate change and clean energy as a result.