President Donald Trump waves while playing golf at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., Saturday, November 21, 2020.
Manuel Balce Ceneta | AP photo
President Donald Trump on Saturday did not attend a virtual G-20 session on global response to coronavirus and improved pandemic preparedness, even as Covid-1
Major leaders among the world’s 20 largest economies provided video messages for the virtual session on pandemic preparedness, including the leaders of Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy and South Korea. Trump did not deliver a message for the event and there appeared to be no U.S. presence in the session.
Trump attended the opening ceremonies of the virtual summit, which Saudi Arabia hosted with the rest of the G-20 leaders. The president later went to his golf course, Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, where he has spent the last many weekends since losing the presidential election.
The White House said in a statement released later Saturday that Trump discussed with world leaders the need to restore economic growth and jobs while the world fights coronavirus, and reaffirms the importance of the G-20 for future prosperity.
Statement by the Press Secretary
President Donald J. Trump attended the first day of the G20 Virtual Leaders Summit on November 21, 2020. President Trump discussed with other world leaders the need to work together to restore strong economic growth and jobs as we overcome the COVID-19 pandemic . In his remarks, President Trump highlighted how the United States marshaled all the resources at its disposal to respond to the crisis as well as the unprecedented economic recovery in the United States on the basis of tax and regulatory cuts, energy dependence and fair trade agreements. . He spoke of the aggressive actions and security measures that the United States took to protect the vulnerable, groundbreaking groundbreaking treatments and develop vaccines and therapies at record speeds, which will save millions of lives. President Trump also reaffirmed the importance of the G20 working together for future economic growth and prosperity.
It was not clear most of the week whether Trump would attend the last G-20 summit before leaving office. The president is not scheduled to reappear at the G-20 until Sunday morning.
More than 57 million people have been infected, and more than 1.3 million have died from the virus worldwide during the pandemic as global leaders struggle to produce a coordinated response.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (top L), US President Donald Trump (top R), South Korean President Moon Jae-in (bottom L) and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (bottom C) are seen on a screenshot before the start of a virtual G20 summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia and held over video conference in the midst of the Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic in Brussels, on 21 November 2020.
YVES HERMAN | AFP | Getty Images
Several G-20 leaders called for an equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and for the strengthening of the World Health Organization, where the agency took the lead in the fight against the pandemic and coordinated how vaccines are distributed worldwide.
The Trump administration announced its withdrawal from the WHO this summer and did not choose the agency’s plan to distribute a vaccine known as COVAX.
French President Emmanuel Macron called for international cooperation to provide a vaccine for all and to build a system that allows the first doses of the vaccine to be directed at the least developed countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for better funding.
“To defeat the pandemic, every nation must have access to and be able to afford the vaccine,” Merkel said during the event. “We need reliable funding, better cooperation, greater independence.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin told leaders that Russia is ready to distribute its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to other countries and is working on a second and third vaccine.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said China is ready to strengthen global vaccine development and distribution. China currently has five vaccine candidates undergoing Phase III trials.
Trump, who lost the November 3 election but did not concede, has not attended a Coronavirus task force meeting in the White House for several months and has not answered questions from the press about the pandemic.
The U.S. broke another daily record for new Covid-19 cases Friday with more than 195,500 confirmed cases and at least 1,800 deaths, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. The increase in cases leads to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths, with more than 82,100 people currently hospitalized across the country – a higher number than at any time during the pandemic.
– Reuters contributed to this report