G-20 summit: Trump goes golfing, Putin takes his chance

Ihm was boring again. No sooner had the host Saudi Arabia opened the virtual G-20 summit than the incumbent American president fired several tweets. ’s topics were neither the deliberations of the 20 largest industrial nations nor their fight against the corona epidemic or the associated recession. No, Trump once again sent tweets about alleged election fraud in the US – exactly two weeks after his defeat by Joe Biden, the future US president.

During the first hour of the video conference with the heads of state and government, Trump complained about “massive and unprecedented electoral fraud”. Trump has been spreading conspiracy theories about the outcome of the November 3 presidential election, the winner of which he has declared, for over two weeks. His election campaign, his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the Republican Party have brought a number of legal actions, so far without any significant success.

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Trump is following his announcement that he will only accept the election result in the event of a victory. The incumbent president refuses his successor, Biden, 78, who is in the transition phase („transition“) common access to secure infrastructure, offices, employees, and intelligence information. With a few exceptions, Republicans support this strategy of undermining American democracy. Only a handful of Republican senators have publicly congratulated Biden on his election victory.

At the start of the G-20 summit, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, 84, called for joint efforts by industrialized and emerging countries to cope with the corona pandemic. “We have a duty to face the challenge together at this summit and to send a strong message of hope,” said Salman on Saturday. “Our peoples and our economies are still suffering from this shock. But we will do our best to weather this crisis through international cooperation. ”The decrepit monarch had great difficulty making his ten-minute opening statement. He mumbled over the prepared text. He had to start again several times.

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Because of the Covid epidemic, the summit planned in Riyadh only took place virtually. In addition to Salman and Trump, the participants included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin, China’s President Xi Jinping, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and UN Secretary General António Guterres. Next to King Salman sat the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.

Trump took the floor after the king’s opening speech. “His speech consisted of saying that he did an absolutely incredible job during his tenure, both economically and in the face of the pandemic,” a delegate who followed the private talks told AFP. Accordingly, Trump said “not a single word” on international issues. With over 255,700 deaths, the USA has more Covid victims than any other country. More than twelve million Americans have become infected, and a good 83,000 Covid patients are currently being treated in hospitals – 50 percent more than two weeks ago.

According to reports, Trump was again unclear about his political future at the summit. According to one attendee, Trump said, “It has been an honor to work with you and I look forward to working with you in the future and for a long time.”

Trump’s real interest in the G20 round with the most powerful figures in world politics – they represent two-thirds of the world’s population and more than 85 percent of global economic output – remained, as expected, meager. He left the group early. Just as he usually finds it difficult to endure events where he is not the main speaker.

Trump is an opponent of multilateralism

In addition, the incumbent president was elected to office in 2016 with the slogan “America first”. He is an opponent of multilateralism, withdrew the USA from international alliances such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN cultural organization Unesco. Trump had also flirted with a NATO exit at times. With Biden’s election victory, such a step can no longer be expected.

The White House had scheduled Trump’s participation in the summit for 8 a.m. (local time) on Saturday. But his motorcade left the seat of government at 9.47 a.m. Trump had meanwhile changed, wore a white cap and a red jacket. At 10:29 am the incumbent president arrived at his golf club in Sterling, Virginia.

At the summit, Trump was temporarily represented by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and economic advisor Larry Kudlow. So while the US president skipped the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin once again knew how to put himself in the limelight. For example, Putin offered the international community broad access to the “Sputnik-V” vaccine developed in Russia. It is not the first time that the Kremlin has made effective use of the power vacuum offered by Trump.

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EU Commission President von der Leyen called for greater financial support for the global initiative to deal with the corona pandemic. It is about making corona tests, treatments and vaccinations possible worldwide. “We have to show global solidarity,” said von der Leyen.

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Chancellor Merkel made a similar statement. “In order to contain the pandemic, vaccination must be available and affordable for every country. The funds promised so far are not yet sufficient for this, ”said Merkel according to the speech manuscript. “So I ask you all to support this important initiative.” The aim of the international campaign is to distribute two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021. “We have already raised almost five billion US dollars for this initiative. Germany is contributing over half a billion euros, ”said Merkel.

USA begins process of withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement

The US is now taking the first step in a lengthy process that should lead to the withdrawal from the agreement. The withdrawal will take effect one day after the US presidential election on November 3, 2020 at the earliest.

On Sunday, the second and last day of the summit, Trump attacked the international agreement against global warming. The Paris climate treaty, from which the US recently withdrew, is “very unfair and one-sided”. The aim of the Paris Agreement was to “kill the American economy,” said Trump in his video message published on Sunday. The elected US President Biden wants to rejoin the agreement.

Trump’s position is in direct contradiction to the attitude of all other leading economic powers at the summit, which have signed the Paris Agreement and are campaigning for climate protection. In previous years, 19 members of the G20 had already made a commitment to the Paris climate protection agreement, while the US under Trump did not want to sign this part of the final declaration.

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“Just arrived at the virtual G-20 meeting,” tweeted Trump on Sunday morning at 8:13 am (local time). The day before he was also there (“early”), announced Trump. Some of the “fake news“Media had failed to report this correctly. “As usual,” complained the incumbent president.

According to a draft of the final declaration, the G 20 will “spare no effort” to ensure fair and affordable access to vaccines in the world. Trump at least supports this statement.

Trump also ended his participation in the summit in the morning on Sunday. At 11:16 a.m., the President’s motorcade left the White House grounds. Target again: Trump’s golf club in Virginia.

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