(WASHINGTON) — In a surprising change of heart, the White House announced Monday afternoon that it was moving the site of the upcoming G-8 economic summit from the president’s hometown of Chicago to Camp David.
The White House gave no reason for the late change in location, after it announced last summer that both the G-8 and NATO summits would be held in Chicago.
The move reportedly stunned organizers in Chicago, who were caught off-guard by the White House’s decision, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“To facilitate a free-flowing discussion with our close G-8 partners, the president is inviting his fellow G-8 leaders to Camp David on May 18-19 for the G-8 Summit, which will address a broad range of economic, political and security issues,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a written statement.
The president himself spends little time at his Maryland country retreat, preferring to spend his weekends in Washington instead.
The president still plans to host the NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21, “which will be the premier opportunity this year for the president to continue his efforts to strengthen NATO to ensure that the Atlantic Alliance remains the most successful alliance in history, while charting the way forward in Afghanistan,” according to Carney.
Reacting to the news, Chicago Mayor and Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said he wished “President Obama and the other leaders well at the G-8 meeting at Camp David” and looked forward to hosting the NATO summit in Chicago.
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