LONDON — Shortly after leaving the G7 Summit in Canada in June, President Donald Trump tweeted to say he had instructed US officials not to endorse a statement he had agreed to just hours earlier with other world leaders. Trump was displeased with something Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during the summit’s closing press conference, which the president was following on TV from Air Force One.
But almost two months on, those instructions from Trump have never been acted upon, apparently ignored, two sources who were directly involved in the G7 process told BuzzFeed News.
US inaction means Trump effectively endorsed the final statement after all.
Trump had left the leaders of Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and the UK stunned and bewildered after tweeting that he’d “instructed U.S. Reps” not to endorse the G7 communique, the official name of the joint leaders’ statement that he’d signed up to in Quebec, before flying to Singapore to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
In his tweets, Trump claimed that he was pulling out of the agreement because Trudeau had made "false statements" at his press conference.
Since Trump’s tweet, however, there has been no formal or official follow-up by the US on the president’s demand, the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.
“The White House and State Dept. are actively ignoring the tweets of the president,” one of the sources said. “It's like there's a reality TV president, in his own bubble, thinking he controls stuff. It's like The Truman Show.”
Trump’s tweet, the source explained, wasn’t sufficient to pull out of the communique itself because “the G7 has a suite of diplomatic tools for communications, and Twitter isn't one of them.” The lack of a formal US notification means the G7 communique remains intact as agreed by the seven leaders in Quebec, the source added.
Asked whether any US official had followed up on the president’s tweet, and whether the communique still stood, a spokesperson at Global Affairs Canada — Canada’s lead agency for foreign relations — said: “The Charlevoix G7 Summit Communique is the official record following the summit.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
The second source, a senior G7 diplomat, told BuzzFeed News that it was difficult to assess in tangible terms if the US position had changed since the summit because the statement agreed upon in Canada contained little in terms of immediate and clear actions to take.
It is not the first time that instructions or announcements tweeted by Trump have left US officials scrambling.
Emails obtained by BuzzFeed News earlier this year revealed the Pentagon was taken by surprise after Trump tweeted he would end transgender military service “after consultation with [his] Generals and military experts.”
Less than 24 hours after the president’s tweet, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent emails to the country’s top military leaders saying Trump’s announcement “was unexpected” and that he intended to say he was “not consulted.”
And a cache of correspondence released through the Freedom of Information Act last month showed just how chaotic it can be for defense officials when Trump tweets about foreign policy without the White House coordinating announcements with other departments, often resulting in a communications black hole.
In Quebec, the leaders of the world’s seven most advanced economies — the US, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the UK — had managed to agree to the joint statement after directly negotiating among themselves a compromise set of words on the thorny issue of trade after talks leading up to the summit had been fraught with animosity and confusion.
After arriving late for a breakfast about gender equality, Trump left the summit early, missing a discussion about climate change, to head to Singapore.
The senior US official who served as Trump’s “sherpa,” the diplomatic emissary who represents the president at major international meetings, including the G7, quit his post shortly after the Quebec summit.