Anyone looking for a gift to give to Donald Trump really should consider a copy of the classic self-improvement handbook by Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends And Influence People.
Trump’s behavior at this past weekend’s G-7 meetings proves that he has a dire need to consult the advice contained in that venerable tome, particularly after the accounts leaked today of the president’s heated arguments with the other leaders attending the Group of Seven summit.
The unpleasant and fervent disagreements didn’t take long to erupt as Trump strenuously pushed for the unconditional readmission of Russia and its President Vladimir Putin to the group during a private dinner on the very first evening of the summit.
Trump began lobbying for the return of his benefactor to recreate the G-8 — as the group was called before Russia was expelled in 2014 for invading and annexing the Ukraine territory of Crimea — during the days leading up to the summit.
The whining didn’t stop once Trump arrived in Biarritz, France, for the meetings with his powerful global counterparts.
The president’s harangues did little to change the opinions of the other world leaders with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly providing the most vehement pushback to Trump’s contention that “it doesn’t really make sense to have this discussion without Putin at the table,” as The Washington Post quoted one European official as paraphrasing his message.
According to The Post, Trump fervently disagreed with the contention of other G-7 members who argued that adherence to democratic norms should be mandatory for any member of the group and that Russia had failed to rise to the occasion after it was allowed to join the organization under then-President Boris Yeltsin in 1997.
“The pushback against him was delivered so passionately that the U.S. president’s body language changed as one leader after another dismissed his demand, according to a senior official who watched the exchange. He crossed his arms. His stance became more combative,” as The Washington Post described the scene at the dinner.
“’Here, there is a fundamental difference of views,’ one official said.”
“’Rough and tumble,’ said another.”
Participants in the summit said that Trump’s persistence in pushing his Russophile agenda tainted the tone of the entire summit.
“The consequence is the same as if one of the participants is a dictator,” an official said. “No community of like-minded leaders who are pulling together.”
With the next G-7 meeting taking place in the U.S. — and at the president’s own Trump National Doral Miami golf resort, if he gets his avaricious way — Trump has said that he will use his host country’s privilege to invite President Putin anyway.
It remains to be seen how the other members of the group will react to that power move on Trump’s part and whether the G-7 will become the G-8 again or dwindle to the Group of Two.
With exact 2020 dates for the next summit yet to be determined, the biggest question remains whether Donald Trump will still be in office and running for reelection, or, if post-election day dates are chosen, whether he will limp into the meeting as a lame duck.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.