G7 Summit takeaways: The US is back on top, the Queen cut a cake with a sword, and world leaders promised 1 billion COVID-19 doses

(L-R) Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attend a plenary session during G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall on June 13, 2021.
(L-R) Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attend a plenary session during G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall on June 13, 2021.

  • World leaders from the US, Italy, France, Japan, Canada, Germany, and the UK met this weekend for the G7 Summit.
  • The summit, made up of the world’s wealthiest large democracies and close allies, is designed to discuss economic and international policies.
  • Here are the biggest takeaways from the three-day event:
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Against the backdrop of the global pandemic, world leaders met in person for the first time since the coronavirus shut down travel.

(L-R) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Queen Elizabeth II, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, President of the European Council Charles Michel and United States President Joe Biden pose for a group photo at a drinks reception for Queen Elizabeth II and G7 leaders at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on June 11, 2021 in St Austell, Cornwall, England.
(L-R) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Queen Elizabeth II, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, President of the European Council Charles Michel, and US President Joe Biden.

The seven world leaders — German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and US President Joe Biden — met on a seaside resort in Cornwall, England. 

It was the first time the heads of these countries met in person since the pandemic shut down travel more than a year ago. The G7 leaders last met in person in France in August 2019, nearly two years ago.

In addition to the seven countries normally present, others like South Africa, South Korea, India, and Australia received invitations to attend virtually the 47th Summit.

In the spirit of gathering and collaboration, the G7 leaders talked through strategies to end the coronavirus pandemic.

Boris Johnson
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson announced that the leaders would together donate at least 1 billion vaccine doses against the coronavirus to lower-income countries over the next year in a coordinated effort to end the pandemic in 2022. 

“Our international priority is to accelerate the rollout of safe and effective, accessible and affordable vaccines for the poorest countries, noting the role of extensive immunization as a global public good,” the leaders said in a statement published on Sunday. 

They promised to also help countries around the world develop technology that can manufacture and disseminate vaccines quicker.

When asked about the expected timeline to end the pandemic on a global scale, Biden said “it might take slightly longer” than 2022.

G7 leaders agree that the US is back on top.

Emmanuel Macron in Brussels
Emmanuel Macron, President of France speaks in Brussels on October 2, 2020.

Macron on Saturday signaled his confidence in the United States as an ally with Biden at the nation’s helm. When asked by reporters whether he thinks “America is back,” Biden gestured to Macron to answer the question. 

“Yes, definitely,” Macron said. “It’s great to have a US president who’s part of the club and very willing to cooperate. What you demonstrate is that leadership is partnership.”

Biden indicated his agreement. “The United States, I’ve said before, we’re back,” the US president said. “Things are going, I think, well, and we’re, as we say back in the States, we’re on the same page.”

Johnson on Thursday hailed Biden as “a big breath of fresh air.”

The Queen showed off her sword skills.

The Queen used a sword to cut a cake
Queen Elizabeth II attempts to cut a cake with a sword, lent to her by the Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall, Edward Bolitho, to celebrate of the Big Lunch initiative at the Eden Project, near St Austell in southwest England on June 11, 2021.

The Queen of England borrowed a ceremonial sword to cut a cake on Friday. 

An aide informed her that there was a standard knife available to cut the cake. But the Queen insisted she use the sword.

“I know there is,” she told the aide. “This is more unusual.”

After the first slice using the sword, she then cut the rest of the cake with a regular knife.

World leaders single out Russia and China.

Biden Putin
President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to meet in Geneva on June 16.

The world leaders presented a united front against Russia and China, vowing to condemn human-rights abuses and political tactics that stray from their economic and international visions. 

Biden, for example, rebuked China for human-rights abuses. “I think China has to start to act more responsibly in terms of international norms on human rights and transparency,” he said. “Transparency matters across the board.”

In a press briefing, a senior US administration official said the six other leaders maintain “a very strong and shared foundation” in their approach to China. The seven leaders also promised to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Later, China clapped back, saying “the days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone.”

On Russia, Biden said US relations with Moscow have reached a “low point.” 

“Russia has engaged in activities which we believe are contrary to international norms, but they have also bitten off some real problems they’re going to have trouble chewing on,” Biden said.

Leaders agree on a plan to phase out gasoline cars.

Three G7 leaders sit at table
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in (L) and US President Joe Biden (R) listen to Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a working session at the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall on June 12, 2021.

Aside from the coronavirus, G7 leaders focused on advancing climate change measures. 

Among them is a proposal to phase out gasoline and diesel cars. The leaders vowed to end “almost all direct government support” for fossil fuels and halt “all unabated coal as soon as possible.”

In an effort to extend this proposal beyond the G7, world leaders agreed to allocate $2 billion to help developing countries to seek out other options besides coal, a statement from the White House said.

Despite the heavy focus away from fossil fuels, world leaders, including Biden, did not set a concrete date for the end of coal use, which contributes directly to global warming.

Biden met the Queen for the first time as president.

Joe Biden and Jill Biden meet the Queen at Windsor Castle
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden stood beside the Queen outside of Windsor Castle on Sunday.

Biden and Queen Elizabeth II met on Friday, marking his first time engaging with the Queen in person as president. The Queen has met every president since Harry S. Truman, with the exception of Lyndon B. Johnson.

At the end of the Summit on Sunday, Biden and first lady Jill had tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle.

Biden met the Queen for the first time as a US senator in the 1980s.

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Under pressure, G7 leaders vow to deliver at least 1 billion extra COVID-19 vaccine doses in the next year

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Joe Biden during G7
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Joe Biden at the G7 summit in Britain on Sunday.

  • During the G7 summit, world leaders said they aimed to end the pandemic next year.
  • Leaders laid out a plan to deliver at least 1 billion additional COVID-19 vaccine doses.
  • Rich nations have faced criticism for hoarding vaccines and leaving developing nations behind.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Influential world leaders who met for the annual Group of Seven summit in the United Kingdom this week committed to delivering at least 1 billion additional COVID-19 vaccine doses to lower-income countries over the next year in a coordinated effort to end the pandemic in 2022.

“Our international priority is to accelerate the rollout of safe and effective, accessible and affordable vaccines for the poorest countries, noting the role of extensive immunization as a global public good,” the leaders said in a statement published on Sunday.

The seven leaders, including President Joe Biden in the first overseas trip of his term, said they would also take steps to improve defenses against threats to global health, including supporting endeavors in science to shorten the cycle for developing vaccines, treatments, and tests from 300 days to 100 days.

Before the G7 released its official statement and news reports of the vaccine donations surfaced, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said that plan does not go far enough. While he said the plan was “very much welcomed,” he said more efforts were needed.

“We would need more than, I would say, bilateral forms of support and individual countries’ initiatives,” Guterres said, according to a transcript of his remarks on Friday. “We need a concerted effort.”

He wants to see countries most involved in producing vaccines to form a global vaccination plan and an emergency task force “to guarantee the design and then the implementation” of such a plan.

“If not, the risk is that there will be, still, large areas of the developing world where the virus will spread like wildfire,” he said, noting the risk of new variants could undermine developed countries’ efforts to inoculate their populations.

While a steady pace of vaccinations in countries like the US and the UK has resulted in a sharp drop in coronavirus infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, some other nations are experiencing soaring numbers of new COVID-19 cases and deaths.

In India, faced with a devastating surge this spring, 23,625 new deaths and 630,650 new cases have been recorded in the last week alone, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Brazil meanwhile has logged more than 78,700 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, with just over 11% of its population against the virus.

Biden at G7 meeting on Sunday, June 13
Biden speaks during a news conference at the end of the G7 summit.

Wealthy nations have faced criticism for hoarding vaccines during the pandemic and leaving developing nations behind. At one point, in mid-February, just 10 countries accounted for three-quarters of COVID-19 vaccinations given through that point, according to the Center for Policy Impact in Global Health at Duke’s Global Health Institute.

“If the rich world continues to hoard vaccines, the pandemic will drag on for perhaps as long as seven more years,” Dr. Gavin Yamey, the center’s director and a Duke professor, wrote in February, noting the vaccine deliveries up until that point were “a sign that the race to vaccinate the world is hardly on even footing.”

Ending the pandemic next year would require vaccinating at least 60% of the global population, the G7 leaders said.

The leaders from the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Canada, Japan, and the US said they planned to use “the full spectrum of the capability and capacity we can each deploy” to support such an effort, including financing and “ensuring availability through exports, opening supply chains, and supporting final mile delivery.”

Some 2.34 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered as of Sunday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The G7 leaders said they have supported Covax – the global vaccine-sharing program led by bodies including the World Health Organization – as the primary method of delivering vaccines to the world’s poorest countries.

At least 700 million doses have been exported or are set to be exported this year, nearly half of which are for non-G7 countries.

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G7 leaders push for a ‘transparent’ investigation into the origins of COVID

G7 family photo
The 2021 G7 family photo in Cornwall, England.

  • The G7 leaders want a “transparent” investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.
  • Biden signed a joint communiqué that outlined plans to defeat the virus and plan for the future.
  • The G7 also committed to giving 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in need.
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

The Group of Seven (G7) leaders on Sunday expressed support for a “transparent” investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, while also seeking ways to better prepare for future pandemics.

President Joe Biden joined the leaders of the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan in signing a joint summit communiqué that addressed everything from strategies to end the current pandemic to a guideline for combatting climate change and an examination of international law regarding online safety and hate speech.

The international leaders are pushing for “a timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO-convened Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China.”

The G7 also committed to giving 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in need as they continue to weather the pandemic.

Read more: What we learned about Joe Biden from riding Amtrak with a Senate colleague who has known the president for five decades

In recent weeks, the debate over the origins of the coronavirus has become a huge issue among US lawmakers and several health experts who question if the coronavirus possibly originated in a lab in Wuhan, China.

However, China has refuted the claim, and Republicans have been critical of involvement by the World Health Organization regarding any possible investigation.

Last month, Biden asked for the intelligence community to “redouble their efforts” in ascertaining the origins of the coronavirus after it was revealed that there was COVID-19 evidence that had not yet been analyzed, according to The New York Times

At the time, the president also requested a report on the findings to be issued in three months.

Last year’s in-person G7 summit was set to be held at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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This was one of the worst weeks for China on the world stage in a while

China's President Xi Jinping rubs his eyes
Chinese President Xi Jinping rubs his eye as he arrives for the seventh plenary session of the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

  • It was a bad week for China on the world stage.
  • President Biden is getting a warm reception in Europe rallying our democratic allies in the G7, the EU and NATO.
  • And at home, our squabbling US Senate somehow managed to pass a $250 billion bill countering China.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

This week the leaders of the Western world turned their eyes toward China, and as a result it was one of the worst weeks for Beijing on the world stage in some time.

In Washington, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate set aside their differences to pass a $250 billion industrial policy bill aimed at preparing US commerce and government for competition with Beijing. And while on a diplomatic trip to Europe, President Joe Biden is reinvigorating our ties to our allies in Europe, the G7 group of nations, and NATO. On the top of the agenda in these meetings is the question of how to counter an aggressive, totalitarian China on the rise.

This comes as every indication points to China moving farther and farther away being an open, even remotely democratic society.

Earlier this week Amnesty International published an in-depth look at life for Muslims living in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, calling it a “dystopian hellscape” where Muslims are terrorized and arbitrarily forced into labor camps as part of “part of a larger campaign of subjugation and forced assimilation.” The Times also reported the Chinese government is seizing Uyghur Muslims who flee abroad.

On the economic front, the Chinese legislature rushed through a bill expanding the government’s means and methods to retaliate against foreign sanctions including the ability to seize foreign companies’ Chinese assets, deny visas, and block the ability to do deals in China. Foreign businesses in the country were caught flat-footed.

At the heart of China’s bellicose behavior is the belief, held among many elites in the Chinese Communist Party, that the US and its partners in the West are in a state of decline. This idea took root during the 2008 financial crisis, and then was reaffirmed by the European debt crisis, the election of Donald Trump and his agression towards our European allies, and the United State’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

To the CCP, our way of life looks like chaos – a cacophony of voices sometimes forcefully pulling our discourse to the right then back to the left. They’ve convinced themselves that we can no longer organize and unify our societies to do the ambitious things that need to be done to win the future. This week the West showed China signs that – when it comes to countering a strengthening totalitarian power – that may not be the case.

A matter of trust

China squandered a massive opportunity over the last four years. As president, Donald Trump snubbed America’s traditional allies and made overtures to the world’s thugs and petty dictators. That could have been a moment when China cozied up to Europe as a more stable alternative, instead China wound up alienating the continent with its overbearing behavior.

For example, at the beginning of this year it seemed certain that the European Union and China would sign a trade deal, against the wishes of the United States. But in March, when the EU sanctioned China over its treatment of Uyghur Muslims, Beijing – in keeping with its policy of aggressive “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy – responded by sanctioning members of EU Parliament. This put the EU-China trade deal on an indefinite hold.

That brings us to Biden and his current trip to Europe, where the president is trying to rebuild trust among nations. His administration is working on undoing the tariffs the Trump administration put on its EU partners with an aim to lift them by the end of the year. He is encouraging unity on the European continent, urging UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to settle his differences with the EU over Brexit and keep the peace on the Ireland-Northern Ireland border. Biden also announced that the US would donate 500 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to over 100 countries “no strings attached.”

Trump’s betrayal of our allies left commentators around the world wondering if US-led groups like the G7 would be able to cooperate enough to do hard things again. This week we’re seeing signs that they can and will. The first sign was Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s momentous announcement that the G7 had come to an agreement on an international minimum corporate tax to stop the race to the bottom in taxing the world’s richest companies.

And now it appears Biden is also rallying our allies to counter China. Before he left for Europe, Biden met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House. Addressing the press after their meeting Stoltenberg said China “doesn’t share our values.” Biden will attend a NATO summit on Monday, and it will produce the strongest statement in its history on NATO’s stance on China, according to the Wall Street Journal.

From the comfortable primeval mud

Legendary American diplomat George Kennan – known for outlining the US policy of containing the USSR during the Cold War – used to say that the US people are always about 10 years behind its diplomats when it comes to seeing danger from abroad. Lecturing back in 1950 he compared democracies to a giant prehistoric monster “with a body as long as this room and a brain the size of a pin” that needs to be directly confronted with a problem before it awakens from the “comfortable primeval mud.” But when a challenge does gain our attention, Kennan said, the country lashes out with “such blind determination that he not only destroys his adversary but largely wrecks his native habitat.”

Perhaps the US has learned something from Kennan. Consider the Senate’s passage of a 2,400 page bill aimed at shoring up the US as an economic and technological superpower. The size and scope of the bill shows that our leaders are trying to meet a challenge before it’s an emergency.

The bill allocates $52 billion to building up the semiconductor industry in the US in order to decrease our dependence on semiconductors from China and Taiwan. The bill also funds major research, allocating $81 billion to the National Science Foundation from 2022 to fiscal 2026 and $120 billion into technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

There are also diplomatic and intelligence measures. It bars US diplomats from attending the Olympics in Beijing, and requires the intelligence community to produce a report about China’s efforts to influence international bodies like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organizations and United Nations. It passed the fractious US Senate – sometimes sardonically referred to as Mitch McConnell’s “legislative graveyard” – on a vote of 68 to 32.

China responded to the bill saying that it “slanders China” and is “full of Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice.”

In a time when the leaders of the richest country in the world are squabbling amongst themselves over whether or not to fund the building of roads and bridges, this bill is a heartening sight. The most important ways the US can counter China are by strengthening itself domestically and by preparing for the worst with its allies. If the giant prehistoric monster hasn’t awakened, this week shows that it now at least has one eye open.

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‘I miss Trump’: Lindsey Graham slams Biden foreign policy, alleges that the ‘bad guys were afraid’ of the former president

Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham dismissed President Joe Biden’s leadership on the international stage.
  • “Let’s just be honest. The bad guys were afraid of Trump,” he said. “Who’s afraid of Biden?”
  • Over the past five years, Graham has evolved from a Trump critic to a staunch ally.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Thursday said that he missed former President Donald Trump and derided President Joe Biden’s pre-G7 summit meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “all fluff and happy talk.”

During an appearance on Fox News’s “The Ingraham Angle,” Graham laced into Biden, alleging that the president is not pushing back forcefully against China and Russia.

“We’ve had two cyberattacks on our economy coming from Russian territory, by Russian organizations I think are given a pass by the Russian government,” he said. “They are probably working together, to be honest with you.”

He added: “Is Biden asking the Europeans to do anything to push back against Russian cyberterrorism? Is he even talking about what should we do to rein China in? No. Of course, this is just all fluff and happy talk. I miss Mr. Trump.”

Graham has increasingly raised questions about the coronavirus possibly emanating from a lab in Wuhan, a claim that China has refuted.

“There is no doubt in my mind the combination of prominent scientists coming out strongly against the lab leak theory, along with officials from the State Department shutting down additional inquiries, ended up being two of the most consequential events in the 2020 election cycle,” he wrote in a Fox News op-ed. “Had they given credence to this charge, the whole tenor, tone and focus of the 2020 election would have turned on a dime.”

Read more: The Justice Department is scrutinizing Arizona’s pro-Trump vote audit as threats of violence and political fallout loom

During his Fox interview, Graham then alleged that bad actors were fearful of Trump.

“Let’s just be honest. The bad guys were afraid of Trump,” he said. “Who’s afraid of Biden? The Europeans are talking about doing a trade deal with China as China dismantles Hong Kong’s democracy and is engaging in genocide against the Uyghurs. So, this just blows my mind.

He added: “They’re talking about going back into the Iranian nuclear deal even though Iran hasn’t changed its behavior at all. I can tell you one thing, the Israelis miss a stronger American president.”

The G7 summit began in Cornwall, a county in southwest England, on Friday – the event is Biden’s first overseas diplomatic summit since he assumed the presidency in January.

Biden will conduct talks with the leaders of the group, which in addition to the United Kingdom includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.

During Biden’s pre-summit talk with Johnson, where the president gifted the prime minister a custom touring bicycle and helmet, the two men also discussed climate change and cyberattacks.

Graham, who was reelected to his fourth term last year, has evolved from a Trump critic to a staunch ally.

Last month, the senator said that was “impossible” for the GOP to move on without Trump as its leader and stated that party members who criticized the former president would “wind up getting erased.”

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Photos show Joe Biden meeting Queen Elizabeth for the first time as president

Joe and Jill Biden stand with Queen Elizabeth II
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (R) speaks with US President Joe Biden and US First Lady Jill Biden and leaders of the G7 during a reception at The Eden Project in south west England on June 11, 2021.

  • President Joe Biden and Queen Elizabeth II met and chatted at a G7 reception in Cornwall on Friday.
  • The monarch has met 13 sitting US Presidents since she took the throne in 1953.
  • First lady Jill Biden and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton also met and took a trip to a local school.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden and Queen Elizabeth II met in England on Friday at an event for world leaders attending the Group of Seven summit in Cornwall this weekend.

The meeting marks Biden’s first time meeting with the British monarch since he was inaugurated earlier this year, as well as the queen’s 13th meeting with a sitting US president.

Biden previously met the queen when he was a US Senator in 1982, the Guardian reported.

The sovereign’s presence in the seaside town of Carbis Bay came as a surprise, according to NBC News, as she joined leaders from the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and Italy.

The president and First Lady Jill Biden were photographed chatting with Queen Elizabeth at a reception following the first session of the summit which kicked off Friday.

Earlier in the day, the queen joined the world leaders for a “family photo” opportunity where she joked with her compatriots.

“Are you supposed to look as if you are enjoying yourselves?” she asked, causing the other heads of state to laugh.

The queen joined Prince Charles, Prince William, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, and several other world leaders for a reception later that evening at the Eden Project, a tropical garden.

World leaders chat at a tropical garden.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (4R) with wife Carrie Johnson (2R), United States President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales at a drinks reception for Queen Elizabeth II and G7 leaders at at The Eden Project during the G7 Summit on June 11, 2021 in St Austell, Cornwall, England.

The Duchess of Cambridge and Jill Biden also met on Friday, taking a trip to a local school

Kate Middleton and Jill Biden walking together.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (L) and U.S. First Lady Dr Jill Biden, carrying carrots for the school rabbit, Storm, during a visit to Connor Downs Academy, during the G7 summit in Cornwall on June 11, 2021 in Hayle, west Cornwall, England.

The Bidens are set to visit Windsor Castle on Sunday for a private audience with Queen Elizabeth II.

The long-reigning royal, who has sat on the throne since 1953, has met every sitting US president since Harry Truman, except for Lyndon B. Johnson.

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The ‘family photo’ of world leaders from Biden’s first G7 summit is noticeably different from the one from Trump’s first G7

G7 photo Trump v Biden
Trump’s first G7 “Family portrait” vs. Biden’s first G7 “Family portrait.”

  • Trump and Biden’s first G7 ‘family photos’ tell a very different diplomatic tale.
  • In 2017, Trump made other world leaders wait for him as he took a golf cart to the photo location.
  • In 2021’s family photo, leaders are spaced apart likely due to social distancing for COVID-19.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

At the 2021 G7 summit in Cornwall, England, leaders of the exclusive political club posed for a “family photo,” on the British shore with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Joe Biden at the center.

There is a noticeable difference in the photos of the world leaders: First, everyone is socially distanced likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and also one man, in particular, did not steal the show.

In 2017, the US was the lone country not to sign a climate declaration. And when leaders walked 700 yards for the family photo, Trump arranged for a golf cart to shuttle him there on his own.

g7 2017
World leaders at the 2017 G7 summit

In 2018, an awkward G7 photo would dominate the news cycle, when the US was locked in a trade battle with the EU and Canada.

G7 Trump and Biden

While president, Trump took an unconventional approach to foreign policy – attempting to broker denuclearization with North Korea, embracing strongmen like Vladimir Putin, and often alienating allies.

Biden has told world leaders “America’s back!” signaling a return to foreign policy norms. At least 12 countries are responding positively to Biden’s turn as president following the Trump years.

A Pew Research survey, released on Thursday, found: “The election of Joe Biden as president has led to a dramatic shift in America’s international image.”

Of the 12 nations surveyed, “a median of 75% express confidence in Biden, compared with 17% for Trump last year” in 2020 during the same survey. All of the G7 nations were surveyed.

“Results for the survey are based on telephone interviews conducted under the direction of Gallup and Langer Research Associates,” Pew explains about its methodology. “The results are based on national samples, unless otherwise noted.”

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Jill Biden and Kate Middleton visited a preschool classroom and fed a rabbit during their first meeting

U.S. first lady Jill Biden holds a tray of carrots next to Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, during a visit to Connor Downs Academy, in Hayle, Cornwall, Britain, June 11, 2021.
The US first lady, Jill Biden, held a tray of carrots next to Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, during a visit to Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, England, on Friday.

  • Jill Biden visited a preschool classroom in England with Kate Middleton during the G7 summit.
  • They met 4- and 5-year-olds at a school specializing in educating students who’ve dealt with trauma.
  • Biden, an English professor, called early-childhood education “the foundation of everything.”
  • Sign up for the 10 Things in Politics daily newsletter.

The US first lady, Jill Biden, visited a preschool classroom in the English county of Cornwall with Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, on the second day of the Bidens’ first overseas presidential trip.

Biden and Middleton met a class of 4- and 5-year-olds at the Connor Downs Academy, a state-funded school that specializes in educating students who have dealt with trauma. The kids had learned about the G7 summit, a meeting of world leaders that is taking place Friday and Saturday in Cornwall, and drew pictures of the White House and Buckingham Palace. It was Biden and Middleton’s first meeting.

“It’s the quietest class I’ve ever been into,” Middleton said after she and Biden entered the room of well-behaved kids.

Biden, an English professor, called early-childhood education “the foundation of everything.”

“I can tell you as a teacher at the upper levels, if they don’t have a good foundation, they fall so far behind,” she said. “This is amazing to see what these children are doing and how far advanced they are at 4 and 5 years old. It’s impressive.”

Biden and Middleton then went outside to visit one of the school’s rabbits with a few of the kids. Biden brought out a bowl of carrots to feed to Storm, the bunny. The two also participated in a roundtable on early-childhood education with several experts from both the UK and the US.

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (R) and US First Lady Jill Biden visit a class at Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, Cornwall on the sidelines of the G7 summit on June 11, 2021.
Biden and Catherine visiting a class at Connor Downs Academy in Hayle on the sidelines of the G7 summit on Friday.

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Biden and other world leaders will be serenaded by sea shanties, sit around fire-pits and toast marshmallows on an English beach during the G7 summit

boris johnson biden wives
  • Biden and world leaders will be entertained on an English beach during the G7 summit.
  • The leaders will sit around fire-pits on the beach, toast marshmallows, and be serenaded by sea shanties.
  • The meeting comes amid rising tensions between Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Biden and other world leaders will listen to sea shanties, sit around firepits, and eat toasted marshmallows on an English beach in the tiny seaside town in Cornwall this week for the annual G7 summit – the first in-person gathering of world leaders in almost two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A diplomatic tussle between UK prime minister Boris Johnson and President Biden about Brexit threatened on Thursday to overshadow the three-day summit.

But Johnson will be hoping to charm Biden and other world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, when they meet in the popular holiday destination of Cornwall to discuss issues including climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.

Leaders will gather from Friday, where a dinner featuring roasted turbot will be cooked by chef Emily Scott from the nearby restaurant Watergate Bay.

On Saturday, leaders will then gather on the beach for a barbecue cooked which will feature lobster and crab claws.

The G7 beach barbecue menu

Canapes: Sparkling scallops, Curgurrell Crab Claws, and Portscatho mackerel.

Mains: Seared and smokey Moorland sirloin, Newlyn lobster, and scorched leeks served with sides of layered Cornish potato chips, St Just purple sprout broccoli, and salt-baked beetroot

Dessert: Beach Hut Sundae

After dinner: baked brie, hot buttered rum and toasted marshmallows around firepits on the beach

Drinks: Cornish sparkling wine, German Riesling, Australian Shiraz, Cornish beer and hedge row fizz cocktail

Leaders afterward will be served baked brie, hot buttered rum, and toasted marshmallows around firepits on the beach, cooked by chef Simon Stallard, who runs a popular beach hut restaurant on the south coast of Cornwall.

They will then be serenaded with songs from local Cornish sea shanty group Du Hug Owr.

The choice of venue was reportedly to Biden’s liking.

Biden, Johnson and their wives took a stroll on the beach at Carbis Bay on Thursday during which the president reportedly told Johnson: “it’s gorgeous. I don’t want to go home.”

President Biden, who is making his first official trip abroad as president, landed in England on Wednesday ahead of the summit, where a massive security operation is underway to guard the venues and hotels hosting the leaders during their stay.

Sniffer dogs, drones, and up to 5,000 police officers from all over England have been deployed across Cornwall ahead of the summit, which comprises the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US.

Leaders from Australia, India, South Africa, and South Korea have also been invited to attend by Boris Johnson, who UK officials said “share the same fundamental values of openness and equality” as the G7. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was forced to cancel his visit due to the severe coronavirus outbreak across the country, however.

UK officials said that discussions between leaders discuss how to introduce measures “to prevent an international catastrophe like the coronavirus pandemic from ever happening again” as well as how to coordinate the global economic recovery from the crisis. They will also discuss climate change, officials said.

boris johnson joe biden
Boris Johnson and Joe Biden

While Johnson has billed the event as an opportunity to foster better relations with President Biden – who once described the UK prime minister as a “physical and emotional clone” of Donald Trump – the possibility of frosty relations remains high due to ongoing tensions over the UK’s post-Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland.

The president, who has spoken extensively about his Irish ancestry, last week issued Johnson’s government with an extraordinary diplomatic rebuke over the Northern Ireland protocol – part of the Brexit agreement which was designed to avoid inflaming the delicate peace agreement on the island of Ireland which was enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement.

Tensions between the EU have been simmering over the Northern Ireland protocol since April, when the UK unilaterally extended a grace period for customs checks on goods arriving Great Britain to Northern Ireland – a move the EU said was unlawful.

In a rare diplomatic move, Biden’s top diplomat in the UK issued a rebuke to the UK’s Brexit minister David Frost for “inflaming” tensions in Ireland and Europe.

The issue will likely be raised when Biden and Johnson meet in person over the weekend. Downing Street said “discussions between the Prime Minister and President Biden are also expected to cover other areas of bilateral cooperation, including reinforcing their shared commitment to preserve the gains made by Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.”

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A COVID-19 outbreak closed a hotel where some members of the G7 delegation and media are staying in Cornwall

A view of the Pedn Olva hotel and deck overlooking the English seaside.
The Pedn Olva Hotel is seen, after it was closed due to a guest contracting coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during the G7 leaders summit, in St Ives, Cornwall, Britain, June 10, 2021.

  • A COVID-19 outbreak shut down a hotel one mile from the G7 summit where world leaders are gathering.
  • The Pedn Olva hotel in St. Ives was hosting the German delegation’s security detail, Sky News reported.
  • Most Cornwall hotels are fully booked for the summit, which begins Friday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A seaside hotel one mile away from where world leaders are meeting for a Group of Seven summit in England this weekend has temporarily shut down due to a COVID-19 outbreak among staff members, Reuters reported on Thursday.

The Pedn Olva hotel in St. Ives is hosting members of the security detail for Germany’s delegation, British media reported. Security staff told Sky News that they had “been told nothing” about the outbreak and might have to sleep in a tent on the beach.

Most hotels in Cornwall are fully booked ahead of the summit, which begins on Friday.

Several media crews, including CBS, were also staying at the hotel, Sky News reported.

The hotel owners confirmed in a statement to Sky News that “a number” of team members tested positive for the coronavirus and that the hotel is fully closed. The owners added they “immediately notified Public Health England” and worked closely with officials.

“We fully appreciate the inconvenience given the limited accommodation options available in the area at the moment but the safety and security of our team and guests is our upmost priority,” the statement said. “The hotel will reopen once a full COVID-19 deep clean has taken place and we have the available staff to run it.”

Sky News reported that 13 of the hotel’s approximately 17 workers have been infected.

Cornwall, the county home to St. Ives, reported nearly triple the number of COVID-19 cases on Thursday as on Wednesday, Newsweek reported. According to the BBC’s tracker, 76% of adults in the area have received their first dose of the vaccine, and 60% are fully vaccinated.

But thousands of diplomats, security, and local police were expected to descend on Cornwall for the event.

The weekend’s summit, which marks President Joe Biden’s first foreign trip since taking office, is being hosted at the Cabris Bay Hotel. Leaders from the US, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, and Japan are scheduled to meet to discuss several global issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

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