COVID-19: Trump thinks in-person G7 summit would be great example of reopening, says WH

Washington: US President Donald Trump believes that there is “no greater example” of reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic than holding an in-person G7 summit in America near the end of June, the White House has said.

G7 is the group of top seven developed economies. These include the US, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada.

The US currently holds the annual presidency of G7 countries. In view of coronavirus pandemic there were talks of the summit being held virtually.

However, Trump for the past one week, has been suggesting that it be held in person at Camp David.

“The President wants to see this (G7) take place,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Tuesday during a news conference here.

“As America reopens, as we try to approach a place of normalcy where people go back to work, where people do recreational activities but socially distant while they do it, the President thinks no greater example of reopening in this transition to greatness would be the G7, and G7 happening here and happening probably more towards the end of June,” McEnany said.

She said National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has been getting a great reception from world leaders who are asked about attending the summit.

“We will protect world leaders who come here, just like we protect people in the White House. So, we want to see it happen. We think it will happen. So far, foreign leaders are very much on board with the idea,” said the White House Press Secretary in response to a question.

But, there has been no fixed date for it as yet.

“I don’t know if it will be the last week of June, but towards the end of June. And the goal for it is for it to be here at the White House,” McEnany said.

Originally, Trump wanted to hold the G7 at his club in the Miami area, as announced by then-acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney in a press conference last fall, but it was subsequently moved to Camp David in June amid public pressure.

The coronavirus pandemic then resulted in another change of venue to a virtual summit. But the president announced on Twitter on Wednesday that he had changed his mind.

“Now that our Country is ‘Transitioning back to Greatness’, I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, D.C., at the legendary Camp David. The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all – normalization!” Trump tweeted.

Most G7 members were noncommittal about the prospect of an in-person summit, according to a media report.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed world leaders need to meet, but did not commit to attending in person, it said.

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