Trump meeting with G-7 leaders after going on offensive

In the Middle East, President Donald Trump was feted with pageantry, the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Israel seemingly in competition to outdo the other with the warmth of their welcomes and the depth of their pledges of cooperation.

But in Europe, Trump has faced a far cooler reception and has been eager to go on the offensive.

Cajoled on issues like climate change and NATO’s defense pact, he’s responded by scolding some of the United States’ most loyal allies for not paying their fair share. He’s also refused to explicitly back the mutual defense agreement that has been activated only once, during the darkest hours of September 2001.

Still, Trump hailed the trip a success as he arrived to the G-7 summit in Sicily Friday, the final stop of his maiden international trip, a grueling nine-day, five-stop marathon.

“Getting ready to engage G7 leaders on many issues including economic growth, terrorism, and security,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Trip has been very successful. We made and saved the USA many billions of dollars and millions of jobs.”

Once more, he will likely be received warily, a president who ran on a campaign of “America First” with suggestions of disentangling the United States from international pacts, now engaged in two days of pomp and policy with the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said the group’s leaders “sometimes have very different views” on topics such as climate change and trade, “but our role as the EU is to do everything to maintain the unity of the G-7 on all fronts.”

The White House believes that Trump has made personal breakthroughs with his peers, having now met one-on-one with all the leaders of G-7.

“It’s time for him to have an intimate discussion and understand their issues but, more importantly, for them to understand our issues,” national economic adviser Gary Cohn told reporters on Air Force One late…

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