President Donald Trump skipped a G7 session on climate change and the Amazon fires on the final day of the summit in France.
Trump was not in attendance for the scheduled meeting on Monday.
"The President had scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India, so a senior member of the Administration attended in his stead," press secretary Stephanie Grisham said.
But as CNN’s Daniel Dale pointed out, “Both Merkel and Modi attended the climate session. The session was on Trump’s official schedule (10 AM) in between the Merkel (9:15) and Modi (12 PM) meetings.”
After skipping the meeting, Trump was asked why he didn’t show up. He appeared to either mishear the question or believe it hadn’t happened yet.
“We're having it in a little while,” Trump mistakenly said.
“He didn't appear to hear when a reporter told him it just happened,” said the White House pool report.
Earlier, The New York Times reported that Trump’s aides were upset that the G7 wanted to focus on climate change, income and gender inequality, and African development, which Trump’s staffers referred to as “niche issues.”
Trump says he won’t give up oil wealth to save planet:
Speaking later at a news conference, Trump said that oil money was more important to him than preserving the planet.
"I feel that the United States has tremendous wealth. The wealth is under its feet. I've made that wealth come alive. ... We are now the No. 1 energy producer in the world, and soon it will be by far," Trump said when asked his views on climate change. "I'm not going to lose that wealth, I'm not going to lose it on dreams, on windmills, which frankly aren't working too well.”
G7 leaders pledge just $20M for Amazon:
The G7 leaders agreed to pledge $20 million to fight the fires in the Amazon, The Associated Press reported.
“The forest is also burning in sub-Saharan Africa. We are studying the possibility of launching an initiative similar to what we just announced for the Amazon,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose policies have led to the deforestation that tremendously exacerbated the fires, complained that the agreement was disrespectful.
Bolsonaro said that the agreement treated Brazil “as if we were a colony.”
Some criticized the paltry sum pledged by the seven of the largest economies in the world.
“For perspective, estimated cost to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral $1.13 to $2.3 billion with a 'b.' About $1 billion raised,” wrote Politico’s Josh Gerstein. "Security for the G7 probably cost more than $20 million."