22 November 2020 7:37:17 am
As leaders from around the world started one virtual summits discussing issues ranging from the coronavirus pandemic to climate change, Donald Trumps’ thoughts were elsewhere – on the US election scandal.
The president kept his head down, looking at something on his desk away from sight during a nine-minute speech Saturday by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, who welcomed the countries that attended a G20 summit hosted by his kingdom. The speech and footage of the other leaders were posted live on the G-20 official website.
Then, within moments of the monarch’s speech ending, Trump wrote on Twitter to comment on a meeting with Republican leaders of the Michigan state legislature. He promised: We will show massive and unprecedented deception!
Optics underlined Trumps’ lack of interest in such forums. After a whirlwind of tweets, he kept his remarks before leaving the virtual session and heading to his golf course near Washington, DC Trump has only occasionally appeared in public since his election defeat, though he continues to insist that he won and is pursuing time- shot legal strategies to seize power.
This has included an apparent attempt to put pressure on state lawmakers to simply reject the results of the public and return their state to them. Trump’s post following remarks by Saudi kings was in response to a tweet from Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, who met with Trump at the White House on Friday along with House Speaker Lee Chatfield. We have not yet become aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan, write Shirkey and Chatfield in a joint statement.
Trump went on to send further tweets claiming voter fraud and commenting on his son, who has been diagnosed with Covid. This even when leaders continued their discussions privately.
The president has often clashed with other leaders during such summits over the past four years, particularly on issues such as multilateralism, climate change and international trade.
In Trumps’ own opening remarks at the meeting, he said the U.S. under his watch had made the world safer, strengthening NATO, defeating Islamic State and fighting terrorism, according to two G-20 officials with knowledge of procedures. He claimed that America had been effective in fighting the pandemic while advertising low unemployment and what he said was high demand in the US economy.
My son Donald is doing very well. Thank you!
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2020
Specifically in a Covid-19 vaccine, Trump reiterated his long-held stance that every American who wanted one had to have access, according to an official with knowledge of his remarks – implying such shots should be optional. He announced progress from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. specifically, the official said.
Unlike other leaders, Trump did not talk about the need to share vaccines around the world, especially with the poorest nations. He also urged other leaders to reject blocking measures as a means of controlling the virus, an official said.
Shortly after his remarks, Trump walked out of the virtual session – while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was speaking – and was replaced first by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and then White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, according to officials. familiar with the meeting. Several other leaders also withdrew after giving their speeches, they said.
A U.S. official said it was standard practice for leaders to come and go during such meetings, which can take many hours. The official, who asked not to be identified while discussing private matters, said the president stayed at least for the first hour of the meeting.
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