Germany, France slam Trump over Group of Seven U-turn

BERLIN, June 10 (Reuters) - Germany and France on Sunday sharply criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to abruptly withdraw his support for a Group of Seven communique, accusing him of destroying trust and acting inconsistently.

Having left the G7 summit in Canada early, Trump's announcement on Twitter that he was backing out of the joint communique torpedoed what appeared to be a fragile consensus on a trade dispute between Washington and its top allies.

Trump also took aim at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and said he might double down on import tariffs by hitting the sensitive auto industry, throwing the G7's efforts to show a united front into disarray.

SEE ALSO: Trump, Macron cool down the buddy act at Canada's G-7

G7 members Germany and France said they stood by the communique despite Trump's decision.

"In a matter of seconds, you can destroy trust with 280 Twitter characters," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said when asked about Trump's U-turn, adding it would take much longer to rebuild lost trust.

Trump's conduct was "actually not a real surprise, we have seen this with the climate agreement or the Iran deal," Maas, a senior member of the Social Democrats, a partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, told reporters in Berlin.

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G-7 Summit in Quebec, Canada
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G-7 Summit in Quebec, Canada
QUEBEC, CANADA - JUNE 08: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'THIERRY QUENETTE / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) (L-R) The President of the European Council Donald Tusk, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker pose for a family photo during the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada 08 June 2018. (Photo by Handout / Thierry Quenette/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and G7 leaders Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, and U.S. President Donald Trump discuss the joint statement following a breakfast meeting on the second day of the G7 meeting in Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018. Adam Scotti/Prime Minister's Office/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and G7 leaders Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, and U.S. President Donald Trump discuss the joint statement following a breakfast meeting on the second day of the G7 meeting in Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018. Adam Scotti/Prime Minister's Office/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
QUEBEC, CANADA - JUNE 08: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'ERIC BOLTE / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau (R) greets Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G7 Leaders Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada 08 June 2018. (Photo by Handout / Eric Bolte/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and G7 leaders France's President Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump take part in a working session on the first day of the G7 meeting in Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018. Picture taken June 8, 2018. Adam Scotti/Prime Minister's Office/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (not shown) during the G7 Summit in the Charlevoix town of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pose during a family photo at the G7 Summit in the Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Canada?s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a bilateral meeting at the G7 Summit in in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with France's President Emmanuel Macron during a bilateral meeting at the G7 Summit in in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton watches as President Donald Trump meets with France's President Emmanuel Macron during a bilateral meeting at the G7 Summit in in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump sits side by side with France's President Emmanuel Macron during a bilateral meeting at the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
QUEBEC, CANADA - JUNE 08: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'ERIC BOLTE / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) (L-R) British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walk for the family portrait during the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada 08 June 2018. (Photo by Handout / Eric Bolte/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
QUEBEC, CANADA - JUNE 08: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - 'ERIC BOLTE / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) (L-R) The President of the European Council Donald Tusk, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, US President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker pose for a family photo during the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada 08 June 2018. (Photo by Handout / Eric Bolte/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron addresses a press conference at the conclusion of the G7 Summit on June 9, 2018 in La Malbaie, Canada. - The leaders of the G7 failed to heal a tariff dispute that has pushed them to the brink of trade war, as Donald Trump quit their summit early and warned Canada, Japan and Europe that 'the gig is up.' (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)
LA MALBAIE , QC - JUNE 09: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May holds a press conference at the end of the second day of the G7 Summit on June 9, 2018 in La Malbaie, Canada. Canada hosted the leaders of the UK, Italy, the US, France, Germany and Japan for the two day summit, in the town of La Malbaie. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves following the final press conference at the conclusion of the G7 summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, June 9, 2018. - Trudeau confirmed he had warned Donald Trump his country would impose retaliatory tariffs on US goods from July 1, denouncing Trump's decision to invoke national security concerns to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel as 'insulting' to the Canadian war veterans who had fought alongside US allies. (Photo by Lars Hagberg / AFP) (Photo credit should read LARS HAGBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
People watch a G7 protest from the window of a restaurant in the old sector of Quebec City, Quebec, on June 9, 2018. (Photo by Geoff Robins / AFP) (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)
Police gather in the old sector of Quebec City, June 9, 2018 where anti G7 protests are planned later in the day. (Photo by Geoff Robins / AFP) (Photo credit should read GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police walk in formation during a protest march at the G7 Summit in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) participates in a roundtable discussion with Small Island Developing States at the G7 Summit in the Charlevoix town of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
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France and Europe are standing by the G7 communique, a French presidency official said, adding anyone departing from the commitments made at the summit would be showing their "incoherence and inconsistency."

"International cooperation cannot depend on being angry and on sound bites. Let's be serious," the French official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

Trump has infuriated the European Union, Canada and Mexico by imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Trump and European allies are also at odds over Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris agreement to combat global warming.

"We have to keep a cool head now and draw the right conclusions," Maas said.

Europe's answer must be to stick even closer together, defend its interests and strengthen alliances with countries such as Japan and Canada, he said.

"Europe united is the answer to America First," Maas said in a tweet.

A German government spokesman said that Berlin continues to support the G7 communique despite Trump's decision.

"Germany stands by the jointly agreed communique," spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

The top White House economic adviser accused Canada's prime minister on Sunday of betraying Trump with "polarizing" statements on U.S. trade policy that risked undermining the American leader on the eve of a historic summit with North Korea.

Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, lashed out at Trudeau as "amateurish" and "sophomoric" for a news conference he gave after Trump left the G7 summit on Saturday.

In his press conference, Trudeau had spoken of retaliatory measures that Canada would take next month in response to Trump's decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber in Berlin and Emmanuel Jarry, Dominique Vidalon in Paris; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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