Politics

World Leaders At G7 Summit Coalesce Around Empty Chair As Trump Skips Climate Change Session

Photo by Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP / Getty

Amber Athey White House Correspondent

President Donald Trump was the only G7 leader not to attend a climate session on Monday, which the White House says was due to prescheduled meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The other G7 leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Japanese President Shinzo Abe, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Merkel, all attended the session on climate, oceans, and biodiversity. A senior administration official reportedly presided at the meeting in Trump’s absence, however, the president’s stark white chair sat empty long enough for photographs.

The empty chair of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen during a working session focused on climate change during the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019. (Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS)

The empty chair of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen during a working session focused on climate change during the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019. (Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS)

The empty chair of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen during a working session focused on climate change during the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019. (Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS)

The empty chair of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen during a working session focused on climate change during the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, August 26, 2019. (Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS)

The other G7 leaders agreed to give $20 million to help fight fires in the Amazon rainforest during the meeting.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham explained the absence in a statement, saying, “The President had scheduled meetings and bilaterals with Germany and India, so a senior member of the Administration attended in his stead.”

When asked during a bilateral meeting with Merkel why he didn’t attend the climate sessions, Trump replied, “we’re having it in a little while,” apparently unaware that he had already missed the session. (RELATED: Trump Says China Has Blinked In Trade War — Talks On Again)

The president was asked about the session again during his bilateral with Modi.

“I want clean air and clean water,” he asserted.