Thanks but no

Merkel says no, she’s not going to Trump’s party.

“The federal chancellor thanks President Trump for his invitation to the G7 summit at the end of June in Washington. As of today, considering the overall pandemic situation, she cannot agree to her personal participation, to a journey to Washington,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told POLITICO Friday.

Merkel’s refusal to attend the summit in person risks scuppering Trump’s attempts to present the gathering as a landmark moment drawing a line under the lockdowns and travel bans imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

You know what else risks scuppering that? The coronavirus pandemic. It hasn’t gone anywhere, so drawing a line under the lockdowns and travel bans would be incredibly stupid.

Trump canceled the summit in March due to the crisis and said he would host a videconference instead. But in a tweet on May 20, he said he might reschedule the summit, proclaiming, “It would be a great sign to all — normalization!”

But, again, the pandemic hasn’t gone anywhere, so normalization isn’t possible. He can say the word all he likes, but it doesn’t change the reality.

“The president thinks no greater example of reopening in this transition to greatness would be the G7, and G7 happening here,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Tuesday. “We will protect world leaders who come here, just like we protect people in the White House,” McEnany added. “So we want to see it happen. We think it will happen. And, so far, foreign leaders are very much on board with the idea.”

Except they don’t protect people in the White House.

But Merkel, who is a research scientist by professional training, has said that she believes June is still too soon to hold large gatherings given that the virus is still circulating, and experts are urging continued vigilance and social distancing, even as economies begin to open up again.

Officials aware of the transatlantic discussions said Trump was furious over Merkel’s reluctance to attend the summit and on Thursday he phoned French President Emmanuel Macron in a pique.

He doesn’t do pique. He does full-on rage tantrum, not pique.

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