President Trump doesn't want the pandemic to stop the U.S. from physically hosting the G7 summit in June, saying Thursday he hopes to hold the meeting of world leaders primarily at the White House. It remains to be seen which world leaders might attend, and no official invitations have been sent for the event, which was originally supposed to take place in a few weeks, from June 10 through June 12.
"We're gonna have it probably at the White House and maybe a little combination of Camp David put primarily at the White House," the president said Thursday. "So if we do the G7 when that all comes together probably it will be in D.C. at the White House. OK? But there could be a piece of it at Camp David, which is nearby."
Originally, the president wanted to hold the G7 at his, 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 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!" the president tweeted.
Most G7 members were noncommittal about the prospect of an in-person summit.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed world leaders need to meet, but didn't commit to attending in person.
"Yes, we need to keep meeting as leaders — whether that's virtual, in person, we'll certainly take a look at what the U.S. is proposing as host of the G7, 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 during a virtual press conference. "There lots of discussions to come, but we look forward to having those discussions with the American hosts."
A spokesperson for the United Kingdom also issued a diplomatic response.
"Hosting arrangements for the G7 are a matter for the country that holds the current G7 presidency. We're in close contact with the US in the run up to the Summit," the U.K. official said.
An Italian embassy official said, "We have seen the tweet. At the moment we are waiting to learn the details."
The Embassy of Japan made similar comments.
"We are aware of the tweet you mentioned. GOJ (government of Japan) closely coordinates with USG on various issues including G7, but we would like to refrain from making comments at the moment," the Japanese embassy said.
The president himself has only traveled domestically since March, as he hopes for other world leaders to come to the U.S.