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.
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.
If the G-7 had moments of tension, on Russia and various trade issues, that energy seemed to have dissipated on Saturday when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that all the participating nations had still managed to reach a consensus and sign off on a summit communique on areas of common ground.
But at 7:04 p.m., Trump tweeted a message that appeared to reverse that.
Trump tweeted that he'd instructed U.S. reps not to endorse the comminque "as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!" He also took issue with an earlier news conference by Trudeau, which he said included "false statements," and stood firm in his contention that Canada "is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies."
He followed that up with another tweet soon after: "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.” Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!"
Exiting the world summit, Trump had delivered a stark warning to America's trading partners not to counter his decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. But Trudeau. the summit host, whose nation was among those singled out by Trump, pushed back and said he would not hesitate to retaliate against his neighbor to the south.
Trudeau later said he reiterated to Trump that tariffs will harm industries and workers on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. He said unleashing retaliatory measures "is not something I relish doing" but that he wouldn't hesitate to do so because "I will always protect Canadian workers and Canadian interests."
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.