President Donald Trump on Friday further put the U.S. at odds with its allies by saying he wanted Russia to be reinstated to the Group of 7 nations summit ahead of the upcoming international meeting.

Trump Says Russia Should Rejoin G7 Summit

Russia was ousted from the G7 in March 2014 under then-President Barack Obama after he and other members of the group voiced anger over the country, led by Vladimir Putinmade several aggressive moves toward Ukraine and even annexed Crimea. Obama and leaders from Canada, Japan and several European nations threatened to raise sanctions on Russia at that time if it continued to encroach upon Ukraine and other neighboring countries. Russia originally joined the G7 in the 1990s, after the Cold War ended, and eight countries were thus part of the group, the G8.

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“Russia should be in this meeting,” Mr. Trump said. “Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting? And I would recommend — and it’s up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting, it should be a part of it. You know, whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run and the G-7 — which used to be the G-8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

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Trump did not give more precise reasons as to why Russia should be allowed to rejoin the G7.

This year’s G7 summit — which includes leaders from the U.S, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada — is being held Friday and Saturday in Quebec, Canada. It serves as a meeting to discuss major political and economic issues.

Trump is known for having a friendly relationship with Putin, who recently slammed the American media for its coverage of a potential forthcoming meeting between the two leaders at the White House. Trump called Putin earlier this year to congratulate him after the Russian leader was re-elected.

This all comes after multiple U.S. intelligence agencies’ findings that Putin’s government interfere in the 2016 American election to sabotage Hillary Clinton‘s campaign and help Trump win.

Trump has also already angered Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several leaders from countries in the European Union after announcing he will impose tariffs on aluminum, steel and other metals. The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal also drew rebukes from many other world leaders.

Thus far, one European leader has backed Trump’s opinion that Russia should be let back into the group: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

“I agree with President @realDonaldTrump: Russia should return to the G8,” Conte tweeted in Italian on Friday. “It is in everyone’s interest,” he added.

Many American foreign policy pundits, contrarily, said Trump’s statement only suggests that the U.S. wants to isolate itself from its allies.

“President Trump has placed himself on the wrong side: with the autocrats, the corrupt, and the anti-Americans, who look to Vladimir Putin as a natural ally,” Daniel Fried, a former diplomat who oversaw sanctions on Russia after its armed intervention in Ukraine, told the New York Times. “Such language will dismay America’s friends and embolden our adversaries.”


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