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As White House Dismisses Planetary Emergency as 'Niche' Issue, Trump Skips G7 Climate Meeting

At the meeting the U.S. president didn't attend, world leaders agreed to a $20 million package to fight the fires currently ravaging the Amazon rainforest

The empty chair of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen as U.N. secretary-general Antonio Guterres, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Burkina President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, Rwanda President Paul Kagame, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, Chile President Sebastian Piniera, and German chancellor Angela Merkel attend a work session focused on climate on August 26, 2019. (Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

After White House officials accused world leaders of attempting to embarrass U.S. President Donald Trump by focusing on the climate crisis at the G7 summit in France, Trump on Monday skipped a session on climate, oceans, and biodiversity during which representatives agreed to a $20 million package to help fight fires that have been ravaging the Amazon rainforest for weeks.

French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that Trump did not show up to the session. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said a senior Trump administration official attended the meeting in the president's place.

After the climate session concluded, Trump was asked by a reporter whether he made it to the meeting.

"I'm going to. In fact, it's going to be in a little while," said the U.S. president, seemingly unaware the session had already taken place.

As The Hill reported, "It was unclear if he heard a reporter who noted the session had just happened."

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Trump went on to falsely claim the U.S. is "right now having the cleanest air and cleanest water on the planet."

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As The Guardian reported Saturday, Trump aides accused Macron attempting to "embarrass his U.S. counterpart by making the summit focus on 'niche issues' such as climate change," which the U.S. president has described as a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

Trump officials, according to The Guardian, complained "the summit had moved from core issues such as global economics and trade to 'niche issues' such as climate change, gender equality, and development in Africa."

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