“I’m putting it off because I don’t feel like a G7, it probably represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Saturday.
The G7 includes the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Japan.
White House strategic communications director Alyssa Farah said the President wants to involve other traditional allies, including the Five Eyes countries, and those affected by the coronavirus, and talk about the future of China.
The President recently said he planned to host the G7 in person at the end of next month, but faced a mixed and uncertain response from other G7 leaders to attend the summit in person in the midst of the pandemic.
“The chancellor thanks President Trump for his invitation to the G7 summit in Washington in late June,” Merkel’s spokesman said in a statement.
“To date, given the general pandemic situation, he cannot confirm his personal participation, or a trip to Washington,” added the spokesman.
Other world leaders have also been cautious about Trump’s proposed G7 summit.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that he could not yet commit to attend the proposed G7 meeting in person because of concerns about the transmission of the virus and Canada’s quarantine rules.
“There are important health concerns around us to keep it in person, but there is no doubt that meeting in person in an ideal situation is much more effective than virtual meetings,” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Trump on Thursday. The two leaders “agreed on the importance of calling the G7 in person in the near future,” according to a White House statement on the call. But the White House did not say whether Macron had pledged to participate in person.
Nadine Schmidt, Laura Smith-Spark, Paula Newton, Kevin Liptak and Nikki Carvajal of CNN contributed to this report.
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