Trump opens door to in-person G7 June meeting amid coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic response during a Cabinet meeting in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 19, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis/

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he may seek to revive a face-to-face meeting of G7 leaders near Washington, after earlier canceling the in-person gathering of world leaders amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“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!”

In March, the Republican U.S. president had canceled the physical summit scheduled for June, at the time moving to a video conference as nations grappled with the shutdown of international travel and multiple U.S. closures amid the outbreak.

The leaders’ April and May discussions were also moved to teleconference.

But in a tweet, Trump said holding an in-person summit would be a symbol of the United States and other countries seeking to return to normal, something the president has urged should happen quickly despite concerns from public health experts.

All 50 U.S. states have sought to re-open at least partially as of Wednesday, although the nation’s capital and its surrounding suburbs remain largely shuttered. Camp David is located about an hour’s drive north of Washington in Thurmont, Maryland.

The pandemic has afflicted the United States more than any other country, with more than 1.5 million known infections and more than 90,000 deaths.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrea Ricci

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