The annual meeting was scheduled to take place in the U.S. this year, but the coronavirus pandemic upended those plans. In March, the White House said that the meeting would be hosted virtually, via video conference. Earlier this month, the president changed plans, saying that he would like to hold the meeting in person.
The plans appear to have changed once again. While traveling back from Florida, where he attended the launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, the president said that the meeting has been postponed until September, and argued that the group needs to be expanded.
“I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” he said.
The intergovernmental economic organization currently consists of the U.S., Germany, Canada, France, Japan, Italy, and the U.K. According to Trump, Australia, India, South Korea, and Russia need to join the group.
As The New York Times reported, during last year’s G7 summit in Biarritz, France, Trump repeatedly argued that Russia — which was cut out in 2014, for its actions in Crimea — needs to rejoin the group.
“I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in. I could certainly see it being the G8 again,” Trump said at the time.
The president argued that Moscow needs to be welcomed back “because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia.” Trump also suggested that Russia was ousted from the group by former President Barack Obama.
“I guess President Obama, because Putin outsmarted him, President Obama thought it wasn’t a good thing to have Russia in. So he wanted Russia out. Well, that’s not the way it really should work,” he said.
Trump has been accused of conspiring with the Kremlin to win the 2016 presidential election, but former special counsel Robert Mueller failed to find direct evidence of conspiracy. In recent weeks, the president has lashed out at Obama, accusing his predecessor of setting the stage for Mueller’s investigation.
Republicans have dubbed the scandal “Obamagate,” accusing both Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s 2020 presumptive presidential nominee, of undermining the Trump administration early on.
Earlier this month, the commander-in-chief went as far as to suggest that Obama needs to testify about his alleged wrongdoings before Congress.