Long before the upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump’s ideas for hosting this year’s summit of the Group of Seven in the United States had created turmoil and controversy. His plans have only gotten more disruptive and divisive in recent days. The meeting of the club of major industrialized nations was supposed to happen on June 10, but the guest list, date and format of the summit are all still undecided. Instead of a showcase for the president and the country, America’s turn to hold the annual gathering of the G-7 has so far turned into another series of failures for Trump.
Trump’s proposals have provoked separate backlashes domestically and internationally, most recently over his push again to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country was expelled from what was then the G-8 after its 2014 invasion of Crimea. Trump first suggested readmitting Putin early on in his presidency, in one of the first storms he triggered among America’s allies. More would follow.
The first controversy over this year’s summit erupted last summer, when Trump proposed hosting it at his private golf resort in Florida. The idea was met with disbelief and fury, as ethics experts swiftly noted that allowing the president to not only profit from the event but force allies to pay into his business was beyond the pale. After defending the idea and absurdly claiming that his resort was the best possible location in the entire country, Trump uncharacteristically accepted defeat, bowing to what he called the “irrational hostility” of Democrats and the media.