WASHINGTON — President Trump attends his first G7 summit in Sicily today amid a cloud of uncertainty about where he and the United States will stand on policy issues from climate change to trade — after a bombshell NATO meeting where he stunned allies with demands for them to start paying their share.
Trump is one of four leaders making their first appearance at a meeting of the Group of Seven, a policy gathering of the world’s largest industrialized democracies. French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni, who is serving as host, and British Prime Minister Theresa May are also making their debut, and the meeting is the first since the U.K. voted to exit the European Union, which is also represented at the gathering.
The new faces, coupled with Trump’s penchant for unpredictability and the fact that he has yet to make judgments on key policies such as whether to remain in the Paris Climate pact — a decision he put off until after this trip — has other heads of state unsure of what will come from today’s meetings.
World leaders will also look for clarity on Trump’s trade policies, and whether the United States will assist allies with counterterrorism efforts as well as with the influx of Middle Eastern refugees into European countries. Gentiloni has said he will seek “the strongest possible commitment against terrorism” from the G7 participants.
The uncertainty was heightened after Trump’s appearance yesterday at a NATO gathering, where he was expected to underscore the U.S.’s support for the alliance and its Article 5 mutual defense agreement, despite his campaign rhetoric calling the organization “obsolete.”
But instead, Trump scolded nearly two-dozen NATO members, accusing them of shirking their financial obligations to contribute at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product for the countries’ mutual defense programs and warning them to pay “their fair share.”
“Many of these nations owe…