Senior aides to Donald Trump have privately accused the G7 summit host and French president, Emmanuel Macron, of trying to antagonise the United States and isolate POTUS by focusing on "niche issues", such as climate change, The New York Times reported.
Just hours after slamming the French president for "foolishness" over a decision to impose taxes on US digital companies operating in France and warning of tariffs on French wine imports, Trump lavished praise on what he called a "very good relationship" with Macron.
The two presidents met for a last-minute lunch ahead of the summit, held in the French city of Biarritz on 24-26 August, on an oceanfront terrace at the Hotel du Palais that White House aides reportedly didn't have any idea about - something which allegedly sparked controversy among Trump's entourage.
The New York Times reported that senior administration officials were convinced that Macron sought to "play his domestic audience" by pushing for climate change, income and gender equality, amid continued Yellow Vests protests in the country. The American side purportedly expected France to focus more on national security and a potential recession.
According to the NYT, some of Trump's aides have voiced concerns that Trump was "hurting" the economy and was doing "lasting damage to his own prospects for re-election".
Bloomberg, meanwhile, cited unnamed US officials as saying that the French side was trying to embarrass POTUS on climate change, an issue which Trump, who had pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris climate accord, once described as a "hoax".
"It's our view that with France trying to drive these other issues outside of global economics, national security and trade, they're trying to fracture the G7", an anonymous administration official told White House reporter for POLITICO Gabby Orr.
President Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to hit back at "the Fake and Disgusting News" over claims that relations between participants of the G7 summit were tense and insisted that they all were "getting along very well".
....bad Economic times, the worse the better, anything to make my Election more difficult to win. Well, we are having very good meetings, the Leaders are getting along very well, and our Country, economically, is doing great - the talk of the world!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 25 августа 2019 г.
The ad-lib presidential lunch took place just a few hours after Trump threatened to announce a "substantial reciprocal action on Macron's foolishness" and slap tariffs on French wine imports over Paris' move to introduce digital services taxes on American tech companies operating in France.