Donald Trump told reporters on Air Force One returning from witnessing the Space X launch that he wanted to cancel the upcoming G-7 summit and hold it later in the fall.
Trump is also lobbying for Australia, South Korea, Russia, and India to join the group.
Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he returned to Washington from Florida that he feels the current makeup of the group is “very outdated” and doesn’t properly represent “what’s going on in the world.”
He said he had not yet set a new date for the meeting, but thought the gathering could take place in September, around the time of the annual meeting of the United Nations in New York, or perhaps after the U.S. election in November.
Russia was once a member of the group but was kicked out after their invasion of Crimea in 2014. Several member nations have expressed an interest in seeing Russia return, but France has expressed the opinion that there should be progress on bringing peace to Ukraine before that happens.
Adding Australia and South Korea to the group is a no-brainer. Both nations have fully modern, industrialized economies and the group would benefit from their membership.
India’s addition would be more problematic. While their reforms have loosened the grip of government on business, their massive population and lack of natural resources drag them down. They are the 5th ranked economy in the world according to Investopedia and should be admitted in a few years.
“I’m postponing it because I don’t feel as a G7 it probably represents what’s going on in the world,” Trump said Saturday. “It’s a very outdated group of countries.”
White House communications adviser Alyssa Farah also said Saturday that the president wants to bring other traditional allies into the mix, as well as those impacted by coronavirus.
This would appear to nix any plans to hastily call together the summit in the coming weeks.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2020
Trump’s rescheduling of the meeting may have had something to do with German Chancellor Angela Merkel declining the invitation because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The surprise announcement came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office said Saturday that she would not attend the meeting unless the course of the coronavirus spread had changed by then.
The leaders of the world’s major economies were slated to meet in June in the U.S. at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, but the coronavirus outbreak hobbled those plans. Trump announced in March he was canceling the summit because of the pandemic and that the leaders would confer by video conference instead. But Trump then switched course, saying a week ago that he was again planning to host an in-person meeting.
Hopefully, by the time the leaders gather, the coronavirus will not be the number one topic on the agenda.