Prologue: The countries with the largest advanced economies began summit meetings in the1970’s to discuss global issues. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, The United Kingdom and The United States of America.
In 2014, Russia took over Crimea and was excluded from future meetings of the G-7.
In 2018, the meeting took place in Canada where President Trump insulted the host, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as well as others at the sessions. Since Trump’s basic motto is “America First”, he refused to sign the final communiqué that was always a joint statement of all the members. A famous picture shows him seated at a table with his arms folded tightly as Angela Merkel backed by other members stand and try to persuade him to join them.
Trump at the G-7 in August 2019.
First: a definition of the word “Chutzpah” – a display of outlandish NERVE flouting the norms of society. Yiddish.
The meeting was held in France with President Macron as the host. He and his wife greeted the U.S. president and Melania warmly. From there, it was downhill from beginning to end of all the sessions.
Macron had planned the topics for the different meetings , including Iran, climate change, and the effects of trade wars among the nations. Trump had pulled out of the Iran Treaty signed by six nations to limit Iran’s production of nuclear weapons. He had also taken the U.S. out of the Paris Pact that set yearly targets for each country spewing carbon dioxicide and other gases into the envioronment. Finally, the U.S. trade war with China would be a concern of all the participants economies.
What happened in the days that followed was summed up in the lead editorial in The New York Times: “Group of 7 Minus Trump: “ “The leaders of the major economies tiptoed around the irascible and unpredictable American president.”
Friday, the president had left the U.S. saying that Xi, the president of China was “ the enemy”. On Monday, he described him as “ a great leader and a brilliant man”. When asked about his order that American businesses leave China… three days later, Trump said , “That’s the way I do business to get a deal”. Never mind that issuing his order by tweet had caused the stock market Dow Jones Average to plummet over six hundred points immediately. “Sorry,” he told reporters. “That’s the way I negotiate.”
When Climate Change was on the agenda for all leaders and their staffs, Trump never appeared at the session. It was clear that his decision to exit the Paris Pact was based on his refusal to accept that carbon dioxide and other gases in the air and water affect nations all across the planet. He has never accepted the research and conclusions of the world’s leading scientists on the polluting effects of gases ejected by factories and power plants . It is ironic that Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State was instrumental in organizing what became the Paris Pact of nations committed to saving the planet.
It became clear during the sessions Trump did attend that the other leaders had learned from past meetings with Donald Trump how to approach subjects they disagreed on. Boris Johnson, the newly elected prime minister of Great Britain spoke to Trump deferentially, saying , “ We’re in favor of trade peace on the whole, and dialing it down if we can.” Most of the other leaders used flattery at first before they disagreed with any of his positions. Macron in a master stroke had not planned a joint communiqué to close this entire session.
On Sunday, Trump said “The lunch was the best hour and a half I ever spent with him.” and the dinner Saturday with the other leaders was “fantastic.” Also, “Mr. Johnson was “ the right man for the job”.
The dinner had included a “lively discussion” about Trump’s desire to bring Russia back into the G-7. The other members rejected doing so until Russia reversed its intervention in Ukraine. They said it rewarded Russia’s aggression. Trump had been touting that proposal at home for months to see it fall completely flat.
Ultimate Chutzpah: The United States is the country where the 2020 G-7 meeting will take place. Before he left France on Monday, he offered The Doral Golf Club Resort near Miami, Florida which his company owns as the site for the meeting!
At a news conference, he boasted why Doral should be the host site, “ With Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings, we call them bungalows, they each hold from 50 to 70 —very luxurious rooms with magnificent views. We have incredible conference rooms. incredible restaurants.” “And what we have also is Miami and many hundreds of acres for parking or all the things that you need, the ballrooms are among the biggest in Florida and the best.”
A follow up tweet by the official White House account appeared to present the site selection as a done deal.
Reactions to this proposal were immediate. Was it ethical or legal for a president of the United States to host the G-7 meeting at his Resort and make a profit for his corporation? Deepak Gupta, an ethics lawyer told The New York Times, “Trump would basically be compelling the foreign governments to be spending money at his personal resort, while promoting the resort on the world stage.”
This raises the issue of whether Trump would be violating the emoluments clause of The Constitution that prohibits presidents from profiting from public office from foreign countries. There have been lawsuits already that have not been successful in federal courts on this matter. A third is still moving through the courts.
When Trump was asked whether he would be profiting from his offer, he replied that the presidency is a money loser for him, estimating that it would cost him “anywhere from $3 to $5 billion.”
The host country leader usually makes the arrangements for the official visit. It is very possible that Trump waited to float this offer at the last minute to avoid any questions raised there or at home or while he was in France.
We will have to wait and see if the Doral Golf Resort is the setting for G-7 in August 2020 ……right before Donard Trump will find out if he wins or loses the Presidential Election.
…………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson