WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he's considering holding a meeting in the U.S. with the leaders of the world's major economies after all because it would be a “great sign to all” of things returning to normal during the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement was the latest effort by Trump to signal to the nation that the U.S. economy is humming again after months-long shutdowns meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 are beginning to be lifted across the country.
Trump had scheduled the Group of Seven summit for June 10-12 at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. But in March, he announced he was canceling the annual meeting because of the pandemic and that the leaders would confer by video conference instead.
“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,” Trump tweeted. “The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all - normalization!”
The G-7 optimism came as Trump met with Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson to discuss reopening plans in their states. The pair praised the administration's efforts to expand testing to critical industries, including meatpacking, in their states.
Separately, Vice President Mike Pence was in Florida for a meeting with tourism industry executives and a meal at a business recently reopened to dine-in patrons.
Formal White House preparations for the meeting were halted two months ago when the summit was called off. And the Trump administration has maintained travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for travelers from Europe, home to four of the G-7 nations. And earlier this week the U.S. and Canada agreed to keep their shared border closed to nonessential travel through June 21.
The District of Columbia remains under stay-at-home orders at least through June 8, though Maryland began relaxing the restrictions last week. At the same time, leaders of the G-7 member nations are in some cases still grappling with the virus in their own countries or in various states of reopening their economies.