Here is the forecast for President Trump when he arrives in Hamburg to meet with world leaders at the G-20 Summit beginning July 7: Expect a chilly reception.
That is not a reference to the highly anticipated first face-to-face meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It is a prediction that the meetings of world leaders will be awkward because angry Europeans are preparing a unified response to Trump’s positions that have upset many of America’s closest long-standing allies.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who as host sets the agenda for the two days of meetings, lashed out at Trump for his positions on trade and climate change in a combative speech before the German parliament today predicting it will be a “very difficult” meeting but adding that she was “determined to send a signal” – without ever mentioning the American president by name.
Merkel told the German members of parliament that she has already consulted with other European leaders, including Emmanuel Macon of France, and they are preparing a united front against Trump on key issues, most notably on climate change.
“The European Union unconditionally stands by its agreement in Paris and will implement it,” said Merkel. “Since the U.S. decision to leave the Paris climate agreement, we are more determined than ever to make it a success.”
Merkel said that the Paris treaty is “irreversible and not negotiable.”
“We want to tackle this existential challenge,” added Merkel, “and we can’t and won’t wait until the last person on earth is convinced of the scientific basis for climate change.”
“The discord is obvious and it would be dishonest to paper over the conflict,” said Merkel.
The German Chancellor is also still steaming over Trump’s remarks on trade with Germany after he called them “evil” and a “very bad” partner because they have a large positive trade balance with the U.S.
Merkel, who faces an election soon, even found unity with her main political rival, Martin Schultz after the rocky NATO meeting when both said it was no longer possible to rely on old alliances and that Europe must unite in response.
At a meeting of the Economic Council of the Christian Democratic Union (her political party), Merkel shot back at Trump over the issue of a trade imbalance.
“The fact we have ten times as much direct investment from Germany in the United States than there’s American investment in Germany has, of course…a strong effect on the many jobs we can create (in the U.S.)”
At the same meeting, Trump’s bumbling Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was given ten minutes to speak via a satellite hookup after he said he was too busy to attend in person.
When his rambling speech criticizing German trade ran over the allotted time, he was cut off, bringing hearty applause and laughter from the Germans.
This morning before the German parliament, in a clear broadside at Trump, Merkel told the German legislators: “Anyone who believes the problems of this world can be solved with isolationism and protectionism is making a huge mistake.”
When Trump first met Merkel in Washington, the press noted that he avoided eye contact with her and failed to shake her hand for the cameras.
Now it is Merkel, one of the most popular and longest-serving leaders in the world, who is ready to shake up Trump, one of the least popular and newest leaders.
“One shouldn’t expect any easy conversations in Hamburg,” Merkel told the German legislators, promising the would conduct the meetings in a manner that would “serve the climate.”
“To gloss over the disagreements,” added Merkel, “would be disingenuous.”
Trump is a bully who is used to getting his way, or at least acting like he won the day, but this time the whole world will be watching as America’s isolationist president finds himself increasingly isolated.
He will be among leaders of stature with proven records who understand what he cannot seem to grasp – that the world is too connected, complex and dangerous not to stand together, even if one ill-informed, ill-mannered, egotistic newbie leader insists on standing apart.
You can see Chancellor Merkel’s comments below.