Donald Trump threw shade at some of America's closest partners on Friday evening, mere hours before he'd see them in Biarritz at the Group of Seven summit.
He threatened to tax French 'like they've never seen before' and characterized world leaders attending the event as 'friends for the most part' in front of Marine One.
'We're going to France. We'll have a good few days. I think it will be very productive, seeing a lot of leaders who are friends of mine, for the most part,' he said of his trip, smirking as he added, 'Wouldn't say in 100 percent of the cases, but for the most part.'
He did not say which leaders were getting under his skin, but Trump offered several hints in the comments that came as he left the White House with first lady Melania.
Trump harped on France's digital tax, which he said U.S. tech companies don't deserve. He noted that he's 'not the biggest fan of the tech companies,' which he again accused them of interfering in his election.
Yet, he said, their regulation should be up to the United States, and not foreign countries like France.
'I don't like what France did. They put a digital tax on our tech companies,' he said. 'Those are great American companies, and frankly, I don't want France going out and taxing our companies, very unfair.'
He cautioned French President Emmanuel Macron against moving ahead with the action that could spark a protracted trade war with the United States.
'If they do that, we'll be taxing their wine, or doing something else. We'll be taxing their wine, like they've never seen before,' he promised.
Whether he meant for the earlier jab about his 'friends' in the global community to land on Macron or another leader he'll be seeing like German Chancellor Angela Merkel was unclear.
After his wine tax threat he'd added, 'Other than that, I have a very good relationship with, Macron, as you say, and we're going to have a very good couple of days. I look forward to being in France.'
'I'm going to see Prime Minister Abe, he's a great gentleman, a great friend of mine,' he told another reporter asking about his relationship with Japan's head of government.
Trump has a kinship with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but it will also be put to test this weekend when leaders of the world's most affluent countries convene in France.
Trump is coming in hot on the economy and trade and plans to lobby fellow leaders to readmit Russia to the exclusive group.
Macron is pushing a climate change agenda that Trump has vociferously opposed and rejected a U.S.-circulated claim this week that he wants to return to include Vladimir Putin in future summits.
Trump is coming in hot on the economy and trade and plans to lobby fellow leaders to readmit Russia to the exclusive group
KEEP OUT: Biarritz is on high alert ahead of the G7, inconveniencing tourists in the area's high season
A view shows the beach and the Hotel du Palais summit venue ahead of the G7 summit
The conservative leaders have been strategizing in weekly calls for the past month.
'He and I are very much aligned. We feel very good about each other,' Trump said last week.
In his trade stand-off with Beijing, the U.S. leader may find no better backer than the newly-ascendant Johnson, who is still considering whether to join Trump's crusade against Chinese telecom firm Huawei.
A self-defined nationalist who has broken with fellow leaders on climate change, Russian aggression and the Iranian nuclear pact, Trump's rejection of globalism and his distaste for multinational organizations is likely to leave him feeling unexpectedly isolated, even with Johnson at the negotiating table.
The UK has remained steadfast in its partnership with regional allies on core issues, although Johnson's interest in European priorities like global warming is softer than his immediate predecessors. That support is unlikely to change even after Brexit.
'We’re obviously going to continue to see some really serious divergences,' Leslie Vinjamuri, head of the US and the Americas Programme at Chatham House, told DailyMail.com. 'You can’t just wait it out for your friend to run the country and then think that you're going to move things along. Britain is a democracy. It's got its own set of interests.'
On economic basics, Trump and Johnson have the same general worldview, which will benefit the U.S. president as he fights his own trade battle with the EU.
'That’s really all we care about,' White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Thursday of the U.S. mission at the secluded conference.
Trump will be heralding a pro-jobs, pro-growth agenda centered on free, fair and reciprocal trade, another senior administration official said, outlining a U.S. push to return to the mandate of the group that's comprised of the world's most advanced economies.
'These are critical agenda items that the President has done domestically. We’ve seen the results. We’ve seen hundreds of thousands of jobs coming back to the U.S. economy. And we’ve seen growth rates that we didn’t think were possible just a few years ago,' the official said. 'And you can contrast this to what’s happening in Europe, where growth is effectively flat.'
Trump at the summit will be 'really engaging in honest conversations' about these issues, said the adviser of the president's desire to 'ensure that U.S. workers and businesses have markets in which they can sell their goods and services' within the world's most lucrative economies.
The Wilson Center's Matthew Rojansky told DailyMail.com that European nations will be equally interested to see behind the curtain of Trump's trade practices.
'With troubling economic signs on the horizon in U.S. markets and the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute, this is likely to be the major focus of concern from U.S. allies at the summit,' he said. 'They will want to know what Washington plans to do to manage these threats to growth and prosperity.'
Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council in the Obama administration, observed that the resulting fallout is likely to be a 'good deal of disunity on trade' in both the transnational context and in terms of Trump's brawl with China.
'The trend that we’ve noticed, and it's been unmistakable over the past couple years, has been that often the G7 has evolved into disarray rather than ascended to unified themes and objectives,' he told DailyMail.com ahead of the summit.
Macron decided to scrap a 2019 statement of mutual agreement altogether, he said on Wednesday, because it would be 'pointless' without U.S. participation.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart