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Trump Bails Out on G20 Pandemic Meeting to Golf

President Trump plays golf at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia on Saturday, November 21. PHOTO: Manuel Balce/AP

PortandTerminal.com, November 21, 2020

WASHINGTON – There are reports that President Trump participated in his final Group of 20 summit on Saturday by tweeting throughout the opening session and skipping a special side-conference focused on the coronavirus pandemic. 

It was unclear all week whether Trump would even be present for this year’s G20, which is being held virtually because of the pandemic. But on Friday evening, the White House released a schedule confirming his participation.

family photo featuring members of the G20 is projected onto the walls of Salwa Palace, At Turaif on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2020 in Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
In this handout image provided by DGDA, Diriyah Gate Development Authority of Saudi, a virtual family photo featuring members of the G20 is projected onto the walls of Salwa Palace, At Turaif on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2020 in Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Meshari-Alharbi, DGDA via AP)

When the event began, Trump was among the nearly two-dozen world leaders who appeared via video-conference, beaming in from the White House situation room.

But only 13 minutes after the scheduled 8 a.m. ET, start time, Trump was sending tweets focused on his efforts to overturn the results of the US presidential election. By 10 a.m. ET, the President had departed the White House on his way to his namesake golf club outside Washington, DC.

There had not been high expectations for this year’s G20, despite a pandemic that will require global efforts to contain the virus. That is partly down to the absence of American leadership, but other world leaders have also struggled to corral their counterparts into a joint effort to combat Covid-19.

President Trump has never been partial to summit meetings, even when they were not held virtually. He departed a G7 meeting in Canada early and rescinded his signature on its final communique. Ahead of last year’s G7 in Biarritz, France, he asked his aides whether it was really necessary to attend.

With reporting by CNN, Associated Press

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