President Trump on Saturday doubled down on his calls for Russia to be reinstated to the G-7 group of nations, saying that the group would be more meaningful if that country could be brought back into the fold.
“I would rather see Russia in the G-8, as opposed to the G-7. I would say that the G-8 is a more meaningful group than the G-7, absolutely,” he told reporters as he left the summit in Canada.
He later said that Russia’s return to the group would be “an asset” and that it would be a good move for peace in the world.
“We’re not looking to play games,” he said.
Trump said Friday that Russia should be a part of the talks -- a move that was likely to find little agreement among the group. Russia was expelled from the group -- which now includes France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. -- following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
When Trump was pressed about the annexation of Crimea, he placed the blame on President Barack Obama for failing to handle the situation.
"He was the one who let Crimea get away -- that was during his administration," he said, adding, "Crimea was let go during the Obama administration and Obama can say all he wants, but he allowed Russia to take Crimea. I may have had a much different attitude."
Trump’s call for Russia to be included did gain some support, however, in the form of new populist Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who tweeted that it was “in the interests of everyone” for Russia to be included once again.
Trump also told reporters Saturday that he has not spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin in some time.
Russia remains a thorny topic in the U.S., where investigators have been looking into how it may have sought to influence the 2016 election.
Despite trade tensions with the U.S., Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday that all seven nations had signed onto a summit communique, The Associated Press reported. But just after 7 p.m. ET, Trump tweeted that he'd instructed U.S. reps not to endorse the comminque "as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flodding the U.S. Market!"
He also took issue with an earlier news conference by Trudeau, which he said included "false statements," and ninsisted that Canada "is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies."
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.