President Donald Trump said it is “certainly possible” that Russian President Vladimir Putin could be invited to next year’s Group of Seven Summit, though other member nations seemed to disapprove.
Trump’s comment Sunday came after he repeatedly touted support for the move. The same day the world leaders convened at the summit in southwest France, European Council President Donald Tusk said that “ under no condition” would Russia be invited.
But one day later, Trump told reporters in Biarritz that “It’s certainly possible, we’ll see,” based on a conversation among the members that happened the previous night, according to White House pool reports.
“We had a very good discussion on Russia and President Putin, and a lively discussion, but, really, a good one,” Trump said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed with the comment, and added that “It was lively.”
Tusk had batted down the possibility the day before, pointing to the country’s cut from the group in 2014 after its annexation of Crimea and other actions that fuel an ongoing civil war in the region.
“When Russia was invited to G-7 for the first time, it was believed that it would pursue the path of liberal democracy, rule of law, and human rights,” Tusk said. “Is there anyone among us, who can say with full conviction, not out of business calculation, that Russia is on that path?”
Trump seemed to be drumming up support for the invite days before the summit, saying that it would be “ appropriate” to readmit Russia to the group.
Later the same day, a senior administration official told CNN that French President Emmanuel Macron told Trump in a phone call that he supported inviting Putin, contradicting his recent public statements on the proposal.
Putin has not appeared concerned about his country’s exclusion from the international meetings.
“How can I come back into an organization that doesn’t exist?” he said on Monday. “It’s the G7, not the G8.”