White House to Cancel In-Person Meeting of G7, Citing Coronavirus Outbreak

WASHINGTON — The Group of 7 summit will not be held as scheduled at Camp David in June but will instead be convened by teleconference because of the coronavirus outbreak, a White House official said on Thursday.

A White House spokesman, Judd Deere, said in a statement that President Trump would host the leaders “via video teleconference in April and May just as he did this week.”

On Monday, Mr. Trump held a teleconference with members of the Group of 7 leading industrial economies, which include Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. During the meeting, the officials pledged to coordinate on public health measures and to work to restore consumer confidence.

“We, the leaders of the Group of 7, acknowledge that the Covid-19 pandemic is a human tragedy and a global health crisis, which also poses major risks for the world economy,” the group said in a joint statement issued afterward, referring to the illness caused by the virus. “We are committed to doing whatever is necessary to ensure a strong global response through closer cooperation and enhanced coordination of our efforts.”

After initially vowing to continue to meet with supporters at political rallies and fund-raisers, Mr. Trump has canceled campaign events as the virus has spread throughout the United States. But the Group of 7 is the largest diplomatic gathering he has rescheduled so far this year.

Several Group of 7 member countries have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, none more than Italy, which has reported more than 41,000 cases. On Thursday, the number of deaths linked to the virus there soared to 3,405, exceeding the toll in China, where the virus first emerged. And in France, the government ordered citizens this week to stay inside for the next 15 days to contain the spread of the virus as European Union officials considered a 30-day shutdown of nonessential travel.

Mr. Trump spoke on Thursday with President Emmanuel Macron of France, according to Mr. Deere, who said the “two leaders agreed to continue close cooperation on resolving the pandemic and minimizing its economic impact, in coordination with the G7 and other international partners.”

In October, Mr. Trump’s handling of the Group of 7 meeting came under intense scrutiny when his administration said the event would be held at his resort, Trump National Doral, near Miami, drawing accusations of a conflict of interest. Two days later, the president announced that he would hold the meeting at Camp David.

“I thought I was doing something very good for our country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 leaders,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, before again promoting the resort’s amenities. “But, as usual, the hostile media & Democrat partners went CRAZY!”

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