WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Monday suggested hosting the Group of Seven summit after the November presidential election, saying he would invite countries generally excluded from the global get-togethers.
“I am much more inclined to do it sometime after the election. We were going to do it in September, they’d like to do it,” Trump said during his near-daily press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.
“We could do it through teleconference, or we could do it through a meeting, but I sort of am now suggesting, I tell my people yesterday, ‘Actually, why don’t we do it sometime after the election when things are a bit, you have a little more time to think about it because it’s very important,'” he said.
The Group of Seven (G7) brings together the leaders of some of the world’s richest countries, who meet to discuss political and economic issues.
Trump had initially wanted to hold an in-person summit in Washington in June — an idea that German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected.
He then postponed the summit to September, hoping to show a return to normal in the United States as he seeks a second term in the November 3 election.
When announcing the postponement in June, Trump said he would widen the invitation to other leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was kicked out of the group over Russia’s takeover of Crimea.
His comments Monday seemed to imply a similar line of thought.
“We will invite certain people that aren’t in the G7,” Trump told reporters.
“Some people have already accepted, but we’re going to be doing it after the election. I think it’s a better, calmer atmosphere to have a G7.”
In early July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended Trump’s suggestion of inviting Putin to the summit, telling reporters the president “gets to decide if he wants (Putin) to come to a summit or not.”