The G-7 summit turned into G-6 leaders’ meeting on Monday, Aug. 26, as U.S. President Donald Trump left his chair empty in a session focusing on climate change that he has once claimed as a “hoax” invented by China.
Even as French President Emmanuel Macron, the summit host, announced that President Trump’s aides were there instead, The Associated Press photos taken at the event show no one was sitting in his chair in the working session on climate, biodiversity, and oceans.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham also confirmed that President Trump had other scheduled meetings “so a senior member of the administration attended in his stead,” according to USA Today.
The other G-7 leaders were present at the session and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also attended.
President Trump had once said the concept of climate change “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.” He decided to formally withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord in 2017.
According to AP, Macron told reporters that it was not his goal to try to persuade President Trump to rejoin the accord, because “you can’t rewrite the past.”
But the French president said he and President Trump had a “long, rich and totally positive” discussion on the ongoing fires in Amazon and an international effort to invest in reforesting area.
Although President Trump skipped the session on the climate, Macron said that Trump still supported an initiative by G-7 countries for an immediate $20 million fund to help Amazon countries fight wildfires and launch a long-term global initiative to protect the rainforest.