Everyone saw the public appearances, speeches, and forced smiles around Donald Trump during the G7 Summit at the end of May. And everyone knows the outcome: Trump made a fool of himself while the world watched. From his very public failure to vocally commit to Article 5 of the NATO Treaty to his lawyer admitting that Trump was there “to get smart,” the high-level meeting of the minds was flush with brains… Except Trump’s.
It all culminated in a weekend that Trump thought was productive, emerging with imagined friendships and imagined agreements for the American president. And when he came home after his little field trip, he did exactly what world leaders knew he would do after their behind-closed-doors meetings with him in Italy. He pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
But secretly, minutes were being taken of the private affair, and the oldest publication of its kind in Europe, Der Spiegel, was given access. From their article Friday:
Until the very end, they tried behind closed doors to get him to change his mind. For the umpteenth time, they presented all the arguments — the humanitarian ones, the geopolitical ones and, of course, the economic ones. They listed the advantages for the economy and for American companies. They explained how limited the hardships would be.”
“All the arguments,” of course, were in favor of America keeping its commitment to the Paris Accord.
French President Macron tried first, with a statement on climate change affecting the poorest countries. Noble, but not what Trump cares about. Justin Trudeau of Canada went next, reminding Trump of the success of the world’s fight for the ozone layer. Still no dice. Finally, Germany’s Angela Merkel thought she perhaps had “the Trump card” in bringing up competition from the Chinese. From the secret minutes of the meeting:
If the world’s largest economic power were to pull out, the field would be left to the Chinese.”
In the end, the strength of intelligence was no match for the bravery of ignorance. The heads of state admitted defeat. Macron was trenchant:
Now China leads.”
Only time will tell if Trump is even capable of learning. It doesn’t seem so thus far.
Featured image via Dan Kitwood/Getty Images