Trump keen to host G-7 meet after US polls

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump has suggested hosting the Group of Seven (G-7) summit after the November presidential election, saying he would invite countries generally excluded from the global meetings.

"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," Mr Trump said on Monday, during his near-daily press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.

"We could do it through teleconference or we could do it through a meeting... I tell my people, '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 G-7 brings together the leaders of some of the world's richest countries, who meet to discuss political and economic issues.

Mr 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 it to September, hoping to show a return to normal in the United States as he seeks a second term in the Nov 3 election.

When announcing the postponement in June, he 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.

The comments on Monday seemed to imply a similar line of thought. "We will invite certain people that aren't in the G-7," Mr 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 G-7."

In July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended Mr Trump's suggestion of inviting Mr Putin to the summit, telling reporters the President "gets to decide if he wants (Putin) to come to a summit or not".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2020, with the headline 'Trump keen to host G-7 meet after US polls'. Print Edition | Subscribe