President Trump on Saturday delivered an ultimatum to foreign leaders as he exited the Group of Seven (G-7) summit on Saturday, demanding that their countries reduce trade barriers for the U.S. or risk losing market access to the world’s largest economy.
“They have no choice. I’ll be honest with you, they have no choice,” Trump told reporters as he prepared to head to Singapore ahead of his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. “We’re going to fix that situation. And if it’s not fixed, then we’re not going to deal with these countries.”
“We’re the piggy bank that everybody is robbing,” Trump added at one point. “And that ends.”
He also warned the countries against trying to issue retaliatory steel and aluminum tariffs, adding that he would continue to pursue such trade measures until other countries relented and agreed to “fair” trade deals with the U.S.
“The European Union [EU] is brutal to the United States. And they understand that. They know it,” he told reporters at a news conference ahead of his departure from Canada. “When I’m telling them, they’re smiling at me, like, the gig is up.”
“They can’t believe they got away with it. Canada can’t believe it got away with it,” he continued. “Mexico — we have a $100 billion trade deficit with Mexico, and that doesn’t include all the drugs that are pouring in.”
Trump doubled down on his earlier comments calling for Russia to be reinstated to the Group of Seven, and blamed former President Obama for “allowing” Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which is what prompted the country’s suspension from the group in 2014.
“Something happened a while ago where Russia is no longer in. I think it would be an asset to have Russia back in,” Trump told reporters.
“I think it would be good for the world, I think it would be good for Russia, I think it would be good for the United States, I think it would be good for all of the countries in the G-7,” he added. “I think having Russia back in would be a positive thing. We’re looking to have peace in the world. We’re not looking to play games.”
Trump questioned why President Obama didn’t do more to counter Russia in the region.
“You have to ask President Obama because he was the one that let Crimea get away during his administration,” Trump told reporters. “Obama can say all he wants but he allowed Russia to take Crimea. I may have had a much different attitude.”