Addressing a White House press conference yesterday, Mr Trump – who currently holds the group’s rotating presidency – said that he had talked to many of the summit’s other leaders about Lebanon in the past few days and floated the idea with his staff.
“I am much more inclined to do it sometime after the election. We were going to do it in September. We can do it through teleconference or we can do it through a meeting.
“I sort of am now suggesting – I told my people yesterday, why do we not do it sometime after the election, when things are a little bit – when you have a little more time to think about it, because it is very important. The G7 is very important.”
Mr Trump has already postponed the summit once, announcing on Air Force One at the end of May that it would be pushed back to the autumn. Angela Merkel had earlier said she would not attend until the coronavirus pandemic had changed course.
At the time, the president said he considered the makeup of the group outdated, and that it should be extended to include other major economies such as India, South Korea, Australia – and crucially, Russia, which was expelled from the group in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea.
At yesterday’s press conference, the president was asked by a reporter whether he still intended to invite Vladimir Putin to the summit, as he has previously suggested. His answer was somewhat confused.
“I don’t know, but we have invited a number of people to the meeting,” he responded.
“I certainly would invite him to the meeting. I think he is an important factor. But we will invite certain people that aren’t in the F7. Some people have already accepted. But we will be doing it after the election. I think it is a better atmosphere to have a G7.”