He did win some support from Italy. “I agree with President @realDonaldTrump: Russia should return to the G8,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte wrote on Twitter in Italian. “It is in everyone’s interest.”
American foreign policy veterans, on the other hand, said the president’s suggestion underscored his isolation.
“President Trump has placed himself on the wrong side: with the autocrats, the corrupt, and the anti-Americans, who look to Vladimir Putin as a natural ally,” said Daniel Fried, a former career diplomat who oversaw sanctions on Russia after its Ukraine intervention. “Such language will dismay America’s friends and embolden our adversaries.”
The notion of readmitting Russia to the world’s most exclusive club reflected the unusually friendly approach that Mr. Trump has taken to Russia since becoming president, a policy at odds with both Republicans and Democrats in Washington as well as leaders in Europe.
American intelligence agencies have concluded that Mr. Putin personally authorized an operation to intervene in the 2016 American presidential election with the goal of helping Mr. Trump win. Mr. Trump has heatedly denied any collusion with Russia, although his son, son-in-law and campaign chairman met with Russians on the promise of receiving incriminating information about his opponent from the Russian government.
The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, speaking with Russian journalists accompanying Mr. Putin on a trip to China, expressed indifference to the idea of Russia being readmitted to the Group of 7. “We are putting emphasis on different formats,” Mr. Peskov said.
Mr. Putin was visiting Beijing ahead of a weekend meeting in the Chinese port city of Qingdao of leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a group that includes China, Russia and Central Asian states that was set up by Beijing in 2001 as an alternative to American-dominated groups like the Group of 8.