It was a fitting end to Trump’s career in global pluralism, which he has expressed discontent since his first collective summit – a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized nations in Sicily – has led to the feeling that other world leaders have been exposed.
It was unclear throughout the week if Trump would attend this year’s G20 summit, which is actually being held due to the pandemic. But Friday evening, the White House published an schedule confirming its participation.
When the event began, Trump was among nearly two dozen world leaders who appeared on video conferencing as they walked in from the White House operation room.
But just 13 minutes after 8 a.m. ET, the start time, Trump was sending out tweets focusing on his efforts to nullify the US presidential election results.
By 10 a.m. ET, the president had left the White House on his way to the golf club of the same name outside Washington, D.C.
It was there when the “side event on pandemic preparedness” began, which included remarks from French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and many other world leaders. Trump did not participate.
There have been no high expectations for the G20 for this year, although a pandemic will require global efforts to contain the virus. This is partly due to the absence of US leadership, but other world leaders have also struggled to rally their counterparts in a joint effort to combat Covid-19.
Trump has never been biased at summits, even when they are not held virtually. He left the G7 meeting in Canada early and canceled his signature on the committee’s closing statement. Before last year’s G7 summit in Biarritz, France, he asked his aides if it was really necessary to attend.
It is Trump’s turn to host the G7 this year, but the pandemic has thwarted plans to host leaders in the United States. At one point, Trump raised the possibility of a G7 meeting after the election, but officials say there are no plans now in place to arrange a meeting before the G7 presidency moves to the UK in January.