Could the Group of Seven countries again become the Group of Eight - as it was known between 1997 and 2014 when Russia was included among the summit of the top IMF-designated advanced economies in the world?
Trump re-upped his position that it should eventually happen, as he described before reporters at the close of the G7 in Biarritz, France on Monday:
There were a lot of things that we were discussing and it would have been easy if Russia were in the room... Yesterday we were discussing four or five matters, and Russia was literally involved in all of those… matters.
Currently the G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. President Trump said he'd “certainly” invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to next year’s G7 summit as a guest.
After 2014 Russia was essentially booted from the summit as relations with the Obama White House broke down over the Ukraine crisis and the Crimea issue.
As part of his remarks about Russia, Trump did indicate that Putin would very unlikely agree to attending merely with "guest" status.
“Those are tough circumstances. He was a part of G8, and all of a sudden he’s out,” Trump explained. “That’s a pretty tough thing for him. He’s a proud person.”
WATCH: @Yamiche asks President Trump about his calls for Russia to rejoin the G-7, what the political impact might be and why he repeats a misleading statement that "Putin outsmarted" former President Obama. pic.twitter.com/Yjoc9Fv8HE— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) August 26, 2019
Trump then sparred with a reporter over assertions that Obama had been "outsmarted" by Putin regarding Crimea, which led to Russia taking control of the vital strategic territory.
"President Obama was helping Ukraine. Crimea was annexed during his term... President Obama was pure and simply outsmarted... it could have been stopped," Trump said.
Meanwhile, though 'RussiaGate' has been conspicuously absent from the 24/7 coverage it once received for the prior couple years, Trump's daring to admit that a number of global issues "would have been easier" if Russia's leader had been in the room was met with widespread scorn in the mainstream media.
Journalists claimed one key G7 dinner was "ruined" over Trump's insistence that Russia would be vital to discussions:
During the seaside meal, French president Emmanuel Macron and European Council president Donald Tusk opposed Trump’s demands. A diplomat present told the publication that the evening was tense: “Most of the other leaders insisted on this being a family, a club, a community of liberal democracies and for that reason they said you cannot allow president Putin — who does not represent that — back in.”
Apparently Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte, who formally announced his resignation early this week, was the only G7 leader present to back Trump's proposal.