Alterman and Heather Conley, the Europe expert at CSIS, both said Macron appeared to be trying to fill the void left by Trump on the world stage, noting the French leader's recent efforts to try to reduce tensions between the US and Iran.
And almost everyone kept a trade threat close at hand.
The two leaders sat on a terrace at the ornate Hotel du Palais in the Atlantic resort of Biarritz, the G7 venue, just a day after Trump reiterated his threat of tariffs against French wine in retaliation for a new tax on major U.S. tech companies. Macron greeted him warmly as a "very special guest", but had already called for an end to the trade disputes that he said threatened global growth.
Thousands of protesters marched at G7 protests near the French coastal resort of Biarritz to demand action from world leaders.
Since last year's summit in Charlevoix, Que., it has become even more hard for countries to find a common language.
At the top of the agenda are climate change - and especially the fires burning in the Amazon - and a global economy teetering on the edge of recession. He already rejected Trump's request to let Russian Federation rejoin the group five years after being expelled over its seizure of Crimea.
Ireland joined in the threat.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she supports discussing the fires during the summit, but disagrees that blocking the Mercosur trade deal with South American countries would reduce the destruction of the rainforest in Brazil. But in a bid to work around Trump's impulsiveness, Macron has eschewed plans for a formal joint statement from this gathering.
Instead, diplomats say Macron could issue his own summary of the discussions. It will mark the first time since the first G7 summit was convened in 1975 that a final communique was not adopted by the world's leading economies.
Tusk dismissed U.S. President Donald Trump's recent second attempt to convince the other countries to allow Russian Federation to return to the summit table, restoring the G8.
All eyes will be on the dynamic between Trump and Johnson, two figures who relish the unpredictability they have sown.
However, many believe he could pull out after then.
"My message to G-7 leaders this week is this: the Britain I lead will be an worldwide, outward-looking, self-confident nation", he said.
Mr Johnson, who has said since he took office last month that he will take the country out of the bloc on 31 October regardless of whether a deal can be reached, later retorted that it would be Mr Tusk himself who would carry the mantle if Britain could not secure a new withdrawal agreement. Canadian leader Justin Trudeau, up for re-election this fall, is at the center of a political scandal.
Representatives from the more-local "yellow vest" movement, which began in France in November of 2018 with mass demonstrations over government taxes on fuel, were also out in force to protest inequality.
In the French town of Bayonne, police fired water cannons and tear gas at about 400 anti-capitalist protesters after some members of the group threw stones early Saturday evening.