President Donald Trump is scrapping this year's G7 summit at Camp David near Washington because of the coronavirus crisis and will instead host the event via video conference, the White House said Thursday.
The United States will lead the group of seven prosperous democracies in 2020, and Trump should host other leaders in June at the presidential retreat known as Camp David.
Instead, the summit will now take place remotely, "so that each country can focus all of its resources on responding to the health and economic challenges of COVID-19," said White House spokesman Judd Deere.
Trump's national economic director Larry Kudlow, who is the US pointman for the summit, informed his colleagues about the decision, Deere said in a statement.
"The White House also informed the other G7 members that, to continue close coordination, the leaders will be videoconferenced in April and May, like this week," he said.
In a call between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, they agreed "in close coordination with the G7 and other international partners to continue working closely together to resolve the pandemic and minimize its economic impact," the White House said separately.
The G7 countries – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – are all in crisis mode to stop the spread of the novel corona virus and, likewise, to try to stop the financial panic that their economies are in a recession threatens.
The G7 summit is held each year by the presiding country, but Trump's preparations have already been marred by controversy over his first attempt to host the event at his own Florida golf club.
Last October, the White House announced that the Trump National Doral Golf Club near Miami was selected from 12 possible locations.
The White House insisted that there was no conflict of interest in using a Trump deal and claimed that there was no equally suitable property in the country.
After strong opposition in Congress, Trump changed course in December, saying he could use Camp David, a historic retreat for the president, instead.
In a tweet at the time, Trump blamed "both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility" for the decision to abandon the Doral plan.