- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 20, 2020

President Trump said Wednesday he would like to revive the Group of Seven meeting at the “legendary Camp David,” saying the coronavirus has slowed enough for him to reconsider an online summit.

The June meeting at the presidential retreat in Maryland was scrapped in favor of a virtual format because of concerns about the pandemic.

Mr. Trump says reverting to a live gathering would send a good signal.

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

Canada and European participants — France, Germany, Italy and the U.K. — are turning the corner after serious bouts with the disease, while Japan did not enter a full-scale lockdown but has seen a relatively low death rate.



Mr. Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday he looks forward to “convening the G-7 soon.”

Mr. Macron said he would be open to attending the event if health conditions allowed it, according to Agence France-Presse, which also quoted German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as espousing a wait-and-see approach.

“We do hope to see this happen,” said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

Mr. Trump initially planned to hold the G-7 at his golf resort in Florida, though he backed off after members of both parties panned the plan as unseemly.

In an October tweet, Mr. Trump blamed “both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility” for his decision to withdraw the event from Trump National Doral Miami.

Mr. Trump’s new tweet suggested the event could be held later than the scheduled date of June 10-12, which is three weeks away.

Ms. McEnany said the president would like to “see it happen sometime in June,” though would not commit to a date or discuss the mechanics of how European leaders could arrive if the administration’s ban on travel from their countries is still in effect.

The administration is considering new restrictions on travel from Brazil and other countries, as coronavirus hot spots emerge, Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday.

“We’re watching very carefully what’s taking place in South America including Brazil. We saw in recent days a significant spike in cases,” Mr. Pence said during a visit to Florida. “And the president’s made it clear that we’re considering additional travel restrictions not just including Brazil, but including other countries.”

Brazil has recorded 275,000 cases of COVID-19, the third most in the world, behind the U.S. with more than 1.5 million cases and Russia with almost 309,000. The crisis nudged the Sao Paulo health care system to the brink of collapse and put a harsh spotlight on President Jair Bolsonaro, who has downplayed the pandemic.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, recently said he would like to rapidly test Brazilian travelers before they get on a plane for the Miami region, which sees a lot of travel from Latin America, though the White House has flirted with a ban.

The U.S. previously banned foreign nationals from entering the U.S. if they had been in China during the previous 14 days.

Mr. Trump argues that the ban, which took effect at the start of February, saved thousands of lives. He later expanded the ban to Iran and then most of Europe in mid-March.

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