By Michael Nienaber
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany and France on Sunday sharply criticised U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to abruptly withdraw his support for a Group of Seven communique, accusing him of destroying trust and acting inconsistently.
Having left the G7 summit in Canada early, Trump's announcement on Twitter that he was backing out of the joint communique torpedoed what appeared to be a fragile consensus on a trade dispute between Washington and its top allies.
Trump also took aim at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and said he might double down on import tariffs by hitting the sensitive auto industry, throwing the G7's efforts to show a united front into disarray.
"In a matter of seconds, you can destroy trust with 280 Twitter characters," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said when asked about Trump's U-turn, adding it would take much longer to rebuild lost trust.
Trump's conduct was "actually not a real surprise, we have seen this with the climate agreement or the Iran deal," Maas, a senior member of the Social Democrats, a partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition, told reporters in Berlin.
France and Europe are standing by the G7 communique, a French presidency official said, adding anyone departing from the commitments made at the summit would be showing their "incoherence and inconsistency".
"International cooperation cannot depend on being angry and on sound bites. Let's be serious," the French official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
"We have to keep a cool head now and draw the right conclusions," Maas said.
Europe's answer must be to stick even closer together, defend its interests and strengthen alliances with countries such as Japan and Canada, he said.
"Europe united is the answer to America First," Maas said in a tweet.
The top White House economic adviser accused Canada's prime minister on Sunday of betraying Trump with "polarising" statements on U.S. trade policy that risked undermining the American leader on the eve of a historic summit with North Korea.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber in Berlin and Emmanuel Jarry, Dominique Vidalon in Paris; Editing by Adrian Croft)
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