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At G-7 Summit, a day of clarification for the White House

 (Sean Gallup / Getty Images)
(Sean Gallup / Getty Images)

As President Trump met with leaders of the world's leading economies here Friday within miles of an active volcano, the White House was working to ease a pair of diplomatic eruptions.

Trump was due to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May on the sidelines of the G-7 Summit in this coastal Sicilian resort town, amid tensions between their countries, longtime allies, following leaks to U.S. media outlets involving Britain's investigation of the Manchester terrorist bombing.

Separately, a top White House adviser partially confirmed reports that Trump had said Germany is "very bad" during Thursday's NATO meetings in Brussels, but clarified that the president was referring only to German trade policies. 

Trump said, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel, "See the millions of cars they are selling to the U.S.? Terrible. We will stop this."

Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, acknowledged that Trump made the remark but added that the president "doesn't have a problem with Germany."

"He said his dad is from Germany. He said I don't have a problem with Germany, I have a problem with German trade," Cohn said. 

Press access to the G-7 meetings has been extremely limited, though the surrounding setting has produced abundant compelling visuals.

Trump tweeted that he expected to spend the day focused on economic growth, terrorism and security. The summit, and Trump's eight-day inaugural foreign trip, ends Saturday.

Other allies here were likely to press Trump on another issue: climate change, specifically whether Trump will carry out his campaign promise to pull the United States out of the landmark Paris climate deal.

Trump was hoping to better understand the European position, Cohn said. White House officials have said the president will make a decision once he is back in the United States.

"He knows that in the U.S. there's very strong opinions on both sides but he also knows that Paris has important meaning to many of the European leaders. And he wants to clearly hear what the European leaders have to say," Cohn said.

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