President Trump skipped a special side-conference about the COVID-19 pandemic at the virtual G20 summit to play golf in Washington D.C. amid his refusal to concede in the U.S. presidential election to Joe Biden.
The president also spent time on social media, lashing out at the press for not giving him enough credit for his role in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine while touting the falling mortality rate - even as case numbers surge nationwide.
President Trump appears to have skipped at the G20 summit this morning a pandemic preparedness and response event to play golf. Other world leaders — including allies Italy, France and Germany — took part, per G20.— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) November 21, 2020
'Joe Biden was a total disaster in handling the H1N1 Swine Flu, would never have produced a Vaccine in record time (years ahead of schedule), and would do a terrible job of Vaccine delivery - But doesn’t everybody already know that!' the president tweeted on Saturday evening.
Biden was Barack Obama's vice president in 2009, when a novel influenza - the H1N1 virus - spread across the United States.
According to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control, 60.8 million Americans contracted the flu.
Of those infected, more than 274,000 were hospitalized and 12,469 Americans died of the illness.
More than a quarter of a million Americans have died this year of COVID-19, though Trump insists that his administration has done a good job in managing the pandemic.
'The Fake News is not talking about the fact that “Covid” is running wild all over the World, not just in the U.S.,' the president tweeted on Saturday.
'I was at the Virtual G-20 meeting early this morning and the biggest subject was Covid.
'We will be healing fast, especially with our vaccines!'
Despite the surge in case numbers, the president says he deserves credit for the falling mortality rate.
'Fake News always "forgets" to mention that far fewer people are dying when they get Covid,' the president tweeted.
'This is do (due) to both our advanced therapeutics, and the gained knowledge of our great doctors, nurses and front line workers!'
The number of COVID-19 deaths has spiked in recent days, as have the number of confirmed cases. But improved treatments have reduced the risk of dying from the disease.
The likelihood that a coronavirus infection will prove fatal has dropped by nearly a third since April due to improved treatment, researchers say.
In the United States, COVID-19 now kills about 0.6 percent of people infected with the virus, compared with around 0.9 percent early in the pandemic, a study from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has found.
The seven-day rolling average for deaths is currently at about 1,000 per day.
Speculations regarding the President's attendance at the international event flew all week, but Trump on Saturday appeared via video-conference to the 15th annual G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia.
However, Trump was spotted hitting the green at the Trump National Golf Club Washington D.C. in Sterling, Virginia, some 30 miles from the White House soon after.
It's the 298th golf trip Trump has made during his four years of the presidency.
According to CNN, Trump had arrived for the conference at 8am before skipping the 'side event on Pandemic Preparedness' and leaving the White House by 10am as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke.
Photos showed Trump donning a red fleece jacket and a 'Make America Great Again' baseball cap, despite the 2020 election being called for President-elect Joe Biden.
Two weeks ago, the Associated Press and several networks called the contentious election race in Biden's favor four days after ballots were cast.
The Trump campaign has since launched voter fraud allegations and accused Biden of essentially stealing the election.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer and longtime defender, held a press conference on Thursday to decry 'massive fraud.' No evidence has been revealed.
But Trump has maintained that he's the election's actual victor and has yet to concede, muddying up the waters on Capitol Hill as the possibility of a smooth transition dissipates.
If Trump's plan to overturn the election fails, this latest G20 summit will be the last of his administration.
The G20, or Group of 20, summit refers to the annual meeting of world leaders to discuss international economic cooperation.
Throughout Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz,'s opening remarks, Trump kept his head down and appeared to be looking at something off screen.
Just 13 minutes after the session began, Trump turned his attention to Twitter where he continued to decry voter fraud.
'We will show massive and unprecedented voter fraud, Trump wrote, sharing a statement from GOP Michigan Sen. Mike Shirkey.
Trump later wrote; 'Big voter fraud information coming out of Georgia! Stay tuned!'
Biden was named Georgia's winner after a hand recount was done this week and officials dismissed his voter fraud claims.
Trump shared opening remarks that addressed the US's coronavirus response and economy recovery. Much of the remarks stressed Trump's 'America first' ideology and advocated that Americans should receive the coveted virus vaccine first.
Although Trump left Saturday's summit, the Pandemic Preparedness side-event saw remarks from South Korean President Moon Jae-in, French President Emmanuel Macron and several others.
Trump had previously knocked heads with other world leaders during similar summits, with differences on climate trade and international trade.
In 2018, Trump left the G7 summit in Canada early and rescinded his signature on the conference's final communique.
He reportedly asked aides before the 2019 G7 summit in Biarritz, France, if it was necessary to attend.
The Trump administration was tapped to host the G7 summit this year, but the coronavirus pandemic pushed it to the wayside.
Trump offered to host the event after the election, but CNN reports there's currently no plans for the meeting before G7 presidency shifts to the UK in January.
He is expected to attend another G20 summit meeting on Sunday morning, CNN reports.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.