Trump to participate in virtual G-20 summit amid coronavirus surge

President Trump will appear at the virtual Group of 20 (G-20) summit this weekend, the White House announced, as global leaders grapple with surging coronavirus cases around the world.

Trump will participate in the summit on both Saturday and Sunday, according to a schedule released by the White House on Friday night. It’s unclear what events the president will participate in exactly.

The summit for the group, made up of 19 leading world economies and the European Union, moved online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will chair the summit, which was originally set to take place in Riyadh.

Trump’s appearance at the summit comes as he refuses to accept President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the election earlier this month and as his campaign seeks to overturn the results.

The president has made few appearances since the Nov. 3 election, with his most recent public remarks focusing on touting the administration’s coronavirus vaccine efforts and announcing actions aimed at lowering the price of prescription drugs.

During remarks in the White House Rose Garden last Friday, Trump said that his administration would not advocate a national lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus and seemingly pushed back on the incoming Biden administration implementing any such restriction.

Biden on Thursday vowed that he would not implement a national lockdown to get COVID-19 under control, saying, “I’m not going to shut down the economy, period. I’m going to shut down the virus.”

Trump’s appearance at the virtual meeting of world leaders this weekend comes as the coronavirus rages around the globe, with more than 57 million cases reported worldwide and nearly 1.37 million deaths.

In the U.S., more than 11.9 million cases have been recorded this year, while more than 254,000 people have died, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

When leaders joined an emergency G-20 teleconference earlier this year to discuss the global coronavirus response, the number of cases worldwide topped 500,000, with just under 20,000 deaths related to the disease. 

The rising number of cases in the U.S. have prompted New York City to shut down schools for in-person learning and have led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend against traveling for Thanksgiving.

This weekend’s summit will mark one of Trump’s last appearances with other world leaders before leaving office in January. The leaders of a number of U.S. allies have congratulated Biden and spoken with him by phone since his electoral win.

Trump interacted with various leaders at the G-20 summit last year, when he drew attention for joking about “fake news” while seated alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin and posed next to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the summit’s “family photo” that year.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump G-20 Group of 20 Joe Biden Vladimir Putin

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