Trump Says He Is ‘Considering’ Hosting G7 Summit at Camp David


WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Wednesday that he may try to host the annual Group of 7 summit of world leaders at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, as originally planned before concerns about the coronavirus turned it into a virtual gathering scheduled for next month.

“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 wrote on Twitter. “The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all – normalization!”

The United States currently holds the presidency of the Group of 7 industrialized nations, which also include Germany, Japan, France, Britain, Canada and Italy.

But given that most international and even diplomatic travel has been on hold for months, Mr. Trump’s proposal struck many foreign policy experts as fanciful. World leader summits like the G7 typically involve hundreds of officials, support staff and elaborate security.

Still, Mr. Trump is determined to signal a return to normal and resuscitate the battered economy. And initial statements from several G7 members did not rule out the idea of an in-person summit. The virtual meeting is scheduled for June 10-12.

Soon after Mr. Trump’s tweet, the White House said in a statement that he had spoken to President Emmanuel Macron of France, and told him, among other things, “that the United States looks forward to convening the G7 soon.”

A French diplomatic source said later that Mr. Macron “is prepared to travel to Camp David,” health conditions permitting, and Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, seemed to be open to the idea.

“Hosting arrangements for the G7 are a matter for the country that holds the current G7 presidency,” a representative for the British government said. “We’re in close contact with the U.S. in the run-up to the summit.”

Holding the summit would underscore Mr. Trump’s message that America can now reopen on the assumption that the worst of the coronavirus crisis has passed, even as many public health experts warn that a rush to do that could lead to a new wave of infections.

Until now, the president has focused the effort exclusively on domestic activity. Mr. Trump has not left the country since his late-February trip to India and last received foreign dignitaries at the White House in mid-March. The United States also currently maintains bans on flights to the country from Europe and Britain.

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Even before the coronavirus derailed plans, organizing the summit had become a minor drama for the White House. Mr. Trump initially announced in October that he would host the gathering at the Trump National Doral resort near Miami, drawing criticism even from some Republicans that it was inappropriate for him to host a diplomatic event at one of his properties.

Mr. Trump subsequently changed the venue to Camp David, a rustic compound that the president, whose tastes are gilded, has privately denigrated.

Mick Mulvaney, his former acting chief of staff, called the location too remote — a feature that could now be a benefit given the threat of the virus.

While it is unclear how enthusiastic G7 leaders might be about visiting the United States, given its high rates of coronavirus infection and the fact that a White House aide and a presidential valet tested positive for the virus this month, none of its leaders rejected the idea outright.

The Coronavirus Outbreak

  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 20, 2020

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      Over 36 million people have filed for unemployment since March. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, data from a Federal Reserve survey released on May 14 showed, and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in people reporting symptoms of chilblains, which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another symptom of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Can I go to the park?

      Yes, but make sure you keep six feet of distance between you and people who don’t live in your home. Even if you just hang out in a park, rather than go for a jog or a walk, getting some fresh air, and hopefully sunshine, is a good idea.

    • How do I take my temperature?

      Taking one’s temperature to look for signs of fever is not as easy as it sounds, as “normal” temperature numbers can vary, but generally, keep an eye out for a temperature of 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you don’t have a thermometer (they can be pricey these days), there are other ways to figure out if you have a fever, or are at risk of Covid-19 complications.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How do I get tested?

      If you’re sick and you think you’ve been exposed to the new coronavirus, the C.D.C. recommends that you call your healthcare provider and explain your symptoms and fears. They will decide if you need to be tested. Keep in mind that there’s a chance — because of a lack of testing kits or because you’re asymptomatic, for instance — you won’t be able to get tested.

    • Should I pull my money from the markets?

      That’s not a good idea. Even if you’re retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year’s worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.

    • How can I help?

      Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.