Trump told reporters on Air Force One when he returned from Florida that he had not yet set a new date, but he said the meeting could take place in September around the time of the annual UN meeting. He also said it might wait until after the November election.
“I postponed it because I didn’t feel that as a G7 it truly represented what was happening in the world,” Trump said.
The decision was a dramatic axis for Trump, who has sought to host a group of large industrial nations in Washington as a demonstration that the United States returned to normal after the epidemic of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 103,000 Americans to date.
China, the number two economy in the world, was not included among Trump’s proposed participants because tensions between Washington and Beijing were higher because of coronaviruses and Hong Kong.
Instead, Trump will bring Australia, which has joined the US in criticizing China about the spread of the corona virus worldwide, and as a result, facing economic retaliation.
Alyssa Farah, director of strategic communications for the White House, said that Trump wanted to bring in some of the country’s traditional allies and those affected by the coronavirus to discuss the future of China.
The move to invite Russia will be controversial. Russia was suspended from what was then the Group of Eight major economies in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea. Trump had pondered earlier about bringing Moscow back to the fold
“Maybe I’ll do it after the election,” Trump said. “I think the right time is before the election.” The US presidential election is November 3.
“So it might be G10, G11, and it could be after the election is over,” Trump said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated this weekend that she was hesitant to travel to the US in June for a G7 physical meeting, a meeting that Trump saw as a sign of normalization after the pandemic coronavirus closed the main economy.
“He cannot confirm his personal participation,” a German government spokesman about Merkel said in an e-mailed statement on Saturday.
Trump spoke to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron in recent days about the progress in holding the G7 directly. It is not clear whether committing to the June meeting or pushing for delay.
Trump said the meeting could be held a week before or the week after the UN General Assembly, which is scheduled to open – potentially virtually, not directly – on September 15 and last until September 30.
AP, Bloomberg, Reuters
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