Trump considering hosting G-7 summit in US after all

Trump considering hosting G-7 summit in US after all

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he’s considering holding a meeting in the U.S. with the leaders of the world’s major economies after all because it would be a “great sign to all” of things returning to normal during the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement was the latest effort by Trump to signal to the nation that the U.S. economy is humming again after months-long shutdowns meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 are beginning to be lifted across the country.

Trump had scheduled the Group of Seven summit for June 10-12 at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. But in March, he announced he was cancelling the annual meeting because of the pandemic and that the leaders would confer by video conference instead.

“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,” Trump tweeted. “The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all – normalization!”

The G-7 optimism came as Trump met with Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to discuss reopening plans in their states. The pair praised the administration’s efforts to expand testing to critical industries, including meatpacking, in their states.

Separately, Vice-President Mike Pence was in Florida for a meeting with tourism industry executives and a meal at a business recently reopened to dine-in patrons.

Formal White House preparations for the meeting were halted two months ago when the summit was called off. And the Trump administration has maintained travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for travellers from Europe, home to four of the G-7 nations. And earlier this week the U.S. and Canada agreed to keep their shared border closed to nonessential travel through June 21.

The District of Columbia remains under stay-at-home orders at least through June 8, though Maryland began relaxing the restrictions last week. At the same time, leaders of the G-7 member nations are in some cases still grappling with the virus in their own countries or in various states of reopening their economies.

A senior White House official said Trump was seriously considering rescheduling the summit for some point in June, likely toward the end of the month, at either the White House or Camp David. The subject was discussed on a call between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday morning, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked whether it would be appropriate to hold the G-7 while ordinary citizens cannot travel to the U.S. from Europe.

“America is reopening. The world is reopening and what a show of strength and optimism to have all the leaders of these countries come together at the White House and pursue business as usual as we move forward through this pandemic,” McEnany said.

If the summit happens, the U.S. would request that delegations be pared back to minimum personnel and would curtail nonessential events like the spousal program. A final decision would be needed in the coming days to ensure adequate time to prepare for the high-level meeting, the official said.

Macron’s office said in a statement that “given the importance of the G7 in the response to the crisis, the President is willing to go to Camp David, if the health conditions allow it.”

“Whatever form the G-7 meeting takes, whether it’s a video conference or otherwise, I will definitely fight for multi-lateralism, that’s very clear, both in the G-7 and the G-20,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Pressed by AP on whether she would consider an actual trip to the U.S., Merkel said: “I chose my words with care.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it an interesting idea, but said leaders need a lot more details. He said it’s important G-7 leaders meet in June so they can discuss the pandemic and restoring economic activity.

“We need to keep meeting as leaders. Whether that’s virtual or in person we will certainly take a look at what the U.S. is proposing as host of the G-7 to see what kind of measures will be in place to keep people safe, what kind of recommendations the experts are giving in terms of how that might function,” Trudeau said.

“There are a lot of discussions to come, but we look forward to having those discussions with the American hosts.”

The U.S. holds the G-7’s rotating presidency this year and gets to determine where the meeting is held and set the agenda. Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan are the other members.

Trump originally planned to hold the annual summit at his private golf course near Miami. But he switched the venue to Camp David, which he visited last weekend and which is run by the U.S. military, after a public outcry over holding it at one of his money-making properties.

AP writers Rob Gillies in Toronto, Sylvie Corbet in Paris and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed.

Zeke Miller And Darlene Superville, The Associated Press

Donald Trump

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo)
Alberta records 410 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

Shaun Isaac, owner of Woodchucker Firewood in Trochu, is awaiting a new shipment during a firewood shortage in the province. All of the wood he has left is being saved for long-time customers who need it to heat their homes. (Contributed photo).
Firewood shortage in central Alberta caused by rising demand, gaps in supply

‘I’ve said “No” to more people than ever’: firewood seller

Front-line hospital workers have walked off the job at the Rimbey Hospital, and across the province. Photo Submitted
Front-line health care workers on strike across the province, including Rimbey Hospital

The strike is due to cut of 11,000 health care jobs in the province, according to AUPE

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed more than 1,000 cases over the weekend Monday afternoon. File photo
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up Monday

‘We’ve now crossed the tipping point,’ says Hinshaw

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

The energy regulator says environmental contractors are at the site

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Sharon Hickin, general manager of the Days Inn Sylvan Lake and the new Lake House Diner, poses for a photo outside the new restaurant. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News
Pandemic puts extra hurdles in place for new Sylvan Lake businesses

Over the past seven months numerous new businesses have opened in Sylvan Lake, despite the pandemic

file photo
Maskwacis RCMP investigate pedestrian fatality

Collision on Highway 2A causing fatality still under investigation.

Rachel Notley, leader of Alberta’s official Opposition, speaks in Edmonton on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. Notley says the government needs to sharply ramp up the number of contact tracers if it wants to get a handle on the rising number of COVID-19 cases. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Opposition calls for more COVID-19 contact tracers as case numbers rise

Alberta has about 800 tracers, and chief medical health officer Dr. Hinshaw says more are being recruited

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. Hospital and health-care workers who staged a one-day illegal walkout returned to work Tuesday while politicians swapped recriminations and accusations in the house over the dispute. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta health staff return to work, surgeries resume after one-day walkout

AHS estimated 157 non-emergency surgeries, most of them in Edmonton, had to be postponed as a result of the walkout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to provide an update on the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Canada has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing 10,000 novel coronavirus deaths. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Alberta COVID deaths pushes Canada past milestone of 10,000 deaths

Canada crossed the threshold of 5,000 deaths on May 12, a little over two months after the first was reported

Most Read