Germany and France on Sunday condemned President Donald Trump for his hasty decision to abandon a G7 communiqué, accusing him of destroying trust and acting inconsistently.
Mr Trump left the G7 summit in Canada much as he arrived, isolated and angry, despite talks which officials believed had papered over deep division on trade, tariffs and the environment.
As he departed he managed to wrongfoot even his own team with two angry tweets sent from Air Force One announcing he had ordered his officials not to sign a joint statement underlining the G7’s commitment to “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade”.
He also accused Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, of being "dishonest and weak" in an angry outburst.
His comments riled allies who accused him of undermining progress, with President Macron of France saying that international diplomacy should not be dictated by "fits of anger".
The five photos that reveal the power plays and divisions at heart of G7 talks
Heiko Maas, the German foreign minister, said: “In a matter of seconds, you can destroy trust with 280 Twitter characters.”
He added that it followed Mr Trump’s decision to go his own way, abandoning allies who had worked with the US on the Paris Accords and the Iran nuclear deal.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, added her condemnation, saying that Europe will implement counter-measures against US tariffs on steel and aluminium.
"The withdrawal, so to speak, via tweet is of course … sobering and a bit depressing," she told the German broadcaster ARD.
Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
Mr Trump said in his tweets that Justin Trudeau was “dishonest” to blame for the breakdown over tariffs.
“PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around’,” he wrote.
Peter Navarro, White House trade adviser, told Fox News Sunday: "There’s a special place in hell for any foreign leader that engages in bad faith diplomacy with President Donald J. Trump and then tries to stab him in the back on the way out the door."
For its part, Mr Trudeau’s office said nothing had changed in the news conference.
“The Prime Minister said nothing he hasn’t said before – both in public, and in private conversations with the president," said a spokesman.
The result is an increasing sense of disarray even after officials thought they had managed to put a gloss on two days of fraught negotiations.
Other G7 powers insisted they continued to back the joint statement.
A senior British government source said: “We stand by the commitments made in the G7 communiqué.”
France and Europe were standing by the G7 statement, a French presidency official said, adding anyone departing from the commitments made at the summit would be showing their "incoherence and inconsistency".
"International cooperation cannot depend on being angry and on sound bites. Let’s be serious," the French official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
Observers said it was difficult to detect any strategy in Mr Trump’s actions other than to cause trouble.
Sir Peter Westmacott, the former British ambassador to Washington, told The New York Times: “Trump is readier to give a pass to countries that pose a real threat to Western values and security than to America’s traditional allies.
“If there is a ‘method to the madness,’ to use the words of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, it is currently well hidden.”
Mr Kudlow also suggested that Mr Trump’s hardline language in the aftermath of the summit was an exercise in showing strength ahead of crunch nuclear talks with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, in Singapore on Tuesday.
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