U.S. President Donald Trump has replaced the planned in-person gathering of G7 world leaders at Camp David with a videoconference because of the coronavirus pandemic, the White House announced on Thursday.
“In order for each country to focus all of its resources on responding to the health and economic challenges of COVID-19 and at President Trump’s direction,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement, “National Economic Council Director and U.S. Sherpa for the 2020 G7 Larry Kudlow has informed his Sherpa colleagues that the G7 Leaders’ Summit the U.S. was set to host in June at Camp David will now be done by video-teleconference.”
Trump spoke with leaders from the seven nations this week via videoconference, which is, according to Deere, the first time ever the group has met virtually.
“The White House also informed the other G7 members that in order to continue close coordination, the President will convene the Leaders’ via video teleconference in April and May just as he did this week,” Deere added.
The White House said the decision to hold the meeting via videoconference was made so that member nations could devote the resources it would have used to attend the June meeting to help their own countries.
The decision comes as a number of G7 nations, including Italy and Germany, have closed their borders. Others, like Canada and the U.S., have tightened travel restrictions for their residents.
Trump originally decided in October to host this year’s conference at his Trump National Doral Miami resort, but hastily scrapped the plans after coming under fire from allies and members of his own party who criticized him for using his office to promote his personal properties.