The annual meeting of the Group of Twenty (G20)–made up of 20 countries and the European Union with almost two-thirds of the world’s population–was held in Hamburg, Germany. Leaders of industrialized and economically-developed countries gathered for the twelfth time after Germany gained presidency of the G20 on December 1, 2016.
U.S. President Donald Trump made a strong presence at the G20 Summit, his second overseas trip since taking office. Throughout the informal forum, President Trump tweeted on an array of topics discussed, from meetings with Putin to a special thanks to law enforcement after prominent protesters.
As for the most anticipated moment of the Summit, Trump directly confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin on a variety of issues for the first time–most notably, about Russia hacking the 2016 U.S. presidential election in order to defame Hillary Clinton’s campaign and elevate Donald Trump.
Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Trump accepted Russia’s denial and even stated “Trump told Putin that some circles in the US are exaggerating the topic of Russian cyber meddling.”
“President Trump said he’s heard Putin’s very clear statements that this is not true and that the Russian government didn’t interfere in the elections and that he accepts these statements,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Putin and Trump were also able to create ceasefire in southwest Syria, in the regions of Daraa, Quneitra, and Suwayda. They also created a foundation for a closer relationship between the U.S. and Russia.
Throughout the Summit, President Trump embodied his campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again.” Although it meant putting America first, many argued that it promoted a sense of nationalism and isolationism.
When asked by a reporter about Mexico paying for the U.S.-Mexican border wall, Trump responded “absolutely” in the presence of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
President Trump also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a working lunch for leaders where the topics ranged from trade to North Korea.
One moment that caused an uprise in controversy was when Ivanka Trump stood in for the president when, according to a subsequent White House statement, he “had to step out.”
“Ivanka was sitting in the back and then briefly joined the main table when the President had to step out and the President of the World Bank started talking as the topic involved areas such as African development–areas that will benefit from the facility just announced by the World Bank,” a senior Trump administration official told CNN.
“When other leaders stepped out, their seats were also briefly filled by others,” the official added.
However, the biggest challenge for Trump at the forum was confronting the topic of climate change. His decision to pull the U.S. out of the multilateral Paris Climate Accord was announced June 1. Trump did, however, leave the window open for re-entering the voluntary accord after renegotiation.
During the Summit, the other 19 nations’ leaders reached an agreement stating that the accord was “irreversible,” meaning that the U.S. cannot re-enter the accord, leaving the U.S. the only country out of the conversations on climate change.