A Solo G-7 Summit for Donald Trump?

Eager to return to a sense of normalcy, the president insists that the summit of the Group of Seven industrial nations may well take place next month in Washington. In the meantime, he still refuses to wear a mask in public.

The coronavirus has killed nearly 100,000 people in the United States, but Donald Trump, with his eyes fixed on the economy, wants to remain resolutely optimistic. Criticized for his management of the pandemic, mocked for his comments on disinfectants and for revealing that he was taking hydroxychloroquine, he has nevertheless changed his position somewhat on masks, which he has refused to wear until now.

Although he stubbornly refuses to cover his mouth and nose, it is the journalists’ fault. Essentially, that is what he said on Thursday in Michigan during a visit to a production site for artificial respirators and masks. Trump believes that he would look ridiculous or even weak by wearing a mask in public. However, photos of him wearing a mask for the first time were indeed taken that day in Michigan (with the presidential coat of arms on the fabric) and soon leaked. But we won’t go into that.

Above all, the question now becomes: What will he do next month when he receives the Group of Seven heads of state in Washington? Because, yes, while many American states are still confined to their homes, Trump no longer wants to cancel, postpone or organize the summit via Zoom. However, the White House had announced in mid-March that it would cancel the in-person G-7 summit scheduled to take place on June 10-12 and was aiming for a virtual meeting.

Comeback at the White House?

Trump prefers to proclaim a return to normal with great fanfare. And for him, holding the summit would be the clearest demonstration of this. “Now that our country is ‘transitioning back to greatness’ (his new slogan), I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington D.C. at the legendary Camp David. The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all: normalization!” he tweeted on Wednesday. He even suggested later that the summit could take place “primarily at the White House.” This is hardly a reassuring statement, given that COVID-19 has recently entered the White House.

What do the main stakeholders think about this? Will we see a group photo with all the heads of state wearing masks, except for Trump? For example, both French President Emmanuel Macron and the President of the European Council Charles Michel tentatively said they were ready to participate, “if health conditions allow it.” Will one of these conditions be to force Donald Trump to also wear a mask?

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