A little over a week ago, Trump announced he wanted to have the G7 leaders meet in person in July. (The United States is this year’s host.) First it was going to be at Camp David, which is bad enough as a pandemic breeding ground, but then he changed to the White House, which is an even tighter space. I posted a diary back then, Is Trump Trying to Kill the G7 Leaders, with a poll where the choices were “Sure, we’ll die for your ego” or “Shove it (insert more diplomatic language).” 98% of you picked the latter.
Well, it turns out the 98% were right. Merkel rebuffs Trump invitation to G7 summit. (What, you were expecting anything else?)
BERLIN — Angela Merkel has rebuffed Donald Trump’s invitation to attend a G7 summit, which the U.S. president is keen to portray as a symbol of a return to normality from the upheaval of the coronavirus crisis.
OK, she did the diplomatic version of “shove it”:
“The federal chancellor thanks President Trump for his invitation to the G7 summit at the end of June in Washington. As of today, considering the overall pandemic situation, she cannot agree to her personal participation, to a journey to Washington,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told POLITICO Friday.
“She will of course continue to monitor the development of the pandemic.”
No great surprise, she and the others saw right through his scheme:
But while officials said Merkel's reluctance to attend the G7 summit was primarily based on the ongoing health situation, they also said European G7 leaders are concerned that Trump may simply want to use their visit for an election-year photo op, and as a basis for declaring the world is getting back to work — thanks to him.
She is also, politico.eu reminds us, a research scientist and based her decision on science.
Other leaders had said they would be willing to come, though the Japanese noted that they would have to quarantine themselves for 14 days on their return. But they also seem willing to follow Merkel’s lead:
Privately, however, one official familiar with the situation said that other EU leaders would support Merkel and would not attend Trump's summit if Merkel thought it was a bad idea.
As of now, there is no reported response from the White House. However, earlier in the week Trump and Merkel did speak by phone on several matters, and “the two leaders had heated disagreements . . . according to a senior U.S. official, who declined to be named. Seibert, the German spokesman, did not respond to a question about whether the conversation was heated.”
Trump did take some of his anger out on the French president:
Officials aware of the transatlantic discussions said Trump was furious over Merkel's reluctance to attend the summit and on Thursday he phoned French President Emmanuel Macron in a pique.
Laughing at Trump has become a G7 meme:
Which is yet another reason Trump is so afraid of losing the election: He will no longer have any power to stop people from openly laughing at him. I can hardly wait!