“I postpone it because I don’t feel like a G7, it probably represents what is happening in the world. It is a very outdated group of countries,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One on Saturday.
The G7 is made up of the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Japan.
White House director of strategic communications Alyssa Farah said the president wants to bring in other traditional allies, including the Five Eyes countries, as well as those affected by the coronavirus, and talk about the future of China.
The president had recently said that he planned to host the G7 in person later next month, but has faced mixed and uncertain response from other G7 leaders in attending the summit in person amid the pandemic.
“The foreign minister thanks President Trump for his invitation to the G7 summit in Washington in late June,” Merkel’s spokeswoman said in a statement.
“As of today, given the general pandemic situation, he cannot confirm his personal participation, that is, a trip to Washington,” the spokesperson added.
Other world leaders have also been cautious about Trump’s proposed G7 summit.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that he was not yet able to commit to attending the proposed G7 meeting in person due to concerns about the transmission of the virus and Canada’s quarantine rules.
“There are important health concerns that we have around holding it in person, but there is no doubt that an in-person meeting in an ideal situation is much more effective than even virtual meetings,” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to Trump on Thursday. The two leaders “agreed on the importance of convening the G7 in person in the near future,” according to a reading of the White House call. But the White House did not say whether Macron had promised to attend in person.
CNN’s Nadine Schmidt, Laura Smith-Spark, Paula Newton, Kevin Liptak and Nikki Carvajal contributed to this report.