Donald Trump: Biden lets the world’s heads of state and government breathe a sigh of relief, even if the G7 divisions persist

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""Donald Trump"" – Google News

When asked together with Biden on Saturday whether the USA was back, French President Emmanuel Macron answered yes.

“Absolutely,” he said while the waves crashed in Carbis Bay in the background.

Even the special guest at a reception on Friday evening took note of the new atmosphere.

“Should you look like you are having fun?” quipped Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, who was later pictured in a friendly conversation with Biden and his wife outside a futuristic biosphere while her son Prince Charles and wife Camilla clutched drinks in the background.

A more conventional presence

During their first meeting on Friday afternoon, held in front of a picture window at a seaside resort, heads of state and government took turns talking about efforts to contain the pandemic, officials familiar with the talks said. Biden, who sits between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Justin Trudeau, appeared prepared, according to a European official, describing his government’s recent purchase of Pfizer cans as an important gesture to take other countries away.

A senior administration official said the first meeting was meant to highlight areas of agreement. A second meeting on Saturday proved more divisive as leaders expressed serious disagreements over how best to approach China.

The disagreements, broadcast during a session that at one point became so sensitive that all internet was shut down for the room, put European nations against the United States, Great Britain and Canada, which took stronger action against China for its authoritarian practices, including forced labor , urged practices in western Xinjiang Province.

At one point, Biden urged other leaders to loudly urge China’s anti-democratic practices, officials said, emphasizing the need to take action.

Although leaders disagreed, after four years of tension under Trump, the meeting saw renewed respect among leaders.

“These leaders seem to really like and respect each other and are working each other out where that sweet spot might be,” said the senior administrator, describing real efforts to find consensus on difficult issues, including China.

To both sessions, Biden brought a large white plastic folder with the president’s seal printed on it to discuss facts and figures. Biden is a new president, but he is very comfortable with this group of executives. That means he can focus on the contents of the upcoming summit, a senior administrative official told CNN.

Offering a very different approach than Trump, Biden underscores the cordial relationships with traditional U.S. allies to mend what broke Trump. His feelings of friendship often mask the real differences between the United States and its allies, particularly in relation to China, trade, and global vaccine efforts.

The senior administrator said Biden views these summits not just as box-checking events, but rather as opportunities to move forward and make progress when it comes to content and challenges.

There remains an ongoing debate over the extent to which – and explicitly – forced labor practices against ethnic minorities should be directly invoked in the communiqué due to be released at the end of the summit, a major push by US officials during the course of the meeting that is slated to ramp up on Saturday become.

“It is too early to say what will end in the final (communiqué),” said a second senior administrator. “But that is certainly our position and that is what we campaigned for.”

Still, the group is expected to work with Biden to announce a new global infrastructure plan designed to counter China’s Belt and Road initiative once their talks are over.

“This meeting was about the future. Not the past.”

At least in tone and appearance, the G7 this weekend is very different from those in Italy, Canada and France during Trump’s tenure.

From his golf course on the other side of the Atlantic, Trump tried to fit in with the club of foreign leaders he was once a member of and heavily criticized Biden’s first trip abroad, particularly next week’s summit meeting with Putin.

“Please give him my warmest regards!” Trump said in a statement.

But in the Seaside Room in Carbis Bay on Friday, after the heads of state and government took their seats at a table and began their private discussions, which lasted about 90 minutes, Trump was anything but the focus of the conversation. In fact, according to people who were briefed about the meeting, his name was barely mentioned.

“This meeting was about the future,” a senior diplomatic official told CNN. “Not the past.”

During that first session on Friday, Biden focused on the critical nature of the moment democracies are in and the need to show the world that they can still deliver.

A senior European official reiterated this point of view, saying that the initial meeting and interactions between heads of state and government quickly turned into a “business-like” atmosphere, confronting the scale of the challenges the Alliance is facing and their home countries.

“I don’t think anyone sees any value in repeating the events of the previous administration,” the official said. Still, the official said, Trump’s absence does not erase recent experiences – and a troubled political environment in the US is still on the minds of key allies, even if Biden is not directly drawn to the summit in those initials.

Instead, it is clear that world leaders are loudly relieved that they have moved on and are barely trying to disguise their joy at returning to more normal relations with the United States.

“I am of course pleased that the American president is here,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has since sat at a G7 table with four American presidents. “It stands for the commitment to multilateralism that we have lacked in recent years.”

“I think it’s great that the US President is part of the group and is very willing to cooperate,” said Macron at his meeting with Biden. He previously posted a video in which he grasps Biden’s arms while they are talking intensely.

“It’s a breath of fresh air,” said Johnson, host of the summit, after meeting Biden on Thursday. The fact that Biden Johnson once referred to as the “physical and emotional clone” of Trump was unspoken.

Biden’s consolation among world leaders is a stark contrast

The President was relaxed when he and his wife came to the summit on Friday. In a light drizzle, Jill Biden compared the meet-and-greet to a wedding.

Later, when the leaders in a pack emerged from the resort on the bay where the summit is taking place, the group smiled broadly next to Biden as they set off to take their traditional “family photo” prior to the first session to let.

On the way back to the house, Biden walked arm-in-arm with Macron – who hosted the last in-person G7 meeting on the Atlantic coast in 2019, which in part turned into a Trump-led dispute over Russia’s re-admission into the group.

Macron and Biden ended up walking so slowly in each other’s arms that other leaders, including Trudeau, had to circling them to get inside.

Later that afternoon, Biden held a “pull-off meeting” with Macron, which the audience described as intense but collegial. They will meet more formally on Saturday.

The 2019 Macron Summit in Biarritz was the third G7 summit that Trump attended and the third to demonstrate serious tensions with other leaders.

At his first G7 summit, held in Sicily, his counterparts Trump urged everyone to stick with the Paris climate agreement. Aides said he felt allied and a few months later announced a US withdrawal from the pact.

Signs that the 45th President did not fit in exactly were widespread. While other guides strolled through the summit venue for a photo op, Trump rode in a golf cart separately.

The next year, the Trudeau-hosted G7 summit in the northern forests of Quebec ended in disarray after Trump, who had left earlier, announced on his departure that he would be withdrawing his signature on the closing statement.

Before leaving, he told reporters that his relationships with G7 leaders were “10 out of 10” and scoffed at suggestions that he was more looking forward to his next engagement with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

But the images of that summit, in which Trump is pushed with crossed arms and crossed arms on the summit communiqué, became iconic images of an isolated US president.

When Trump administration officials began planning the France-hosted summit next year, there were open questions as to whether he would agree. He told his aides that he thought they were a waste of time. And he resented the annual focus on climate change issues, which he believed ignored more pressing economic and security threats.

He was eventually persuaded to take part. But at a welcome dinner held under the Biarritz lighthouse overlooking the Atlantic, Trump campaigned aggressively to reinstate Russia after being ousted by Moscow after the 2014 invasion of Ukraine. During dinner, Trump repeatedly argued that his predecessor Barack Obama was to blame for excluding Russia from the group formerly known as the Group of 8.

When Trump hosted the G7 last year, he promised to invite Russia to attend the summit. But the event never took place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

After Biden defeated Trump, his aides made it clear that Russia would not be invited to this group again. Instead, his first face-to-face meeting with Putin will take place separately when the two meet in Geneva on Wednesday.

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