Jean-Pierre said Biden chose to invite only leaders of democracies, a decision that left out Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua and prompted the Mexican president to stay away. López Obrador will, however, travel to Washington for bilateral engagements later this summer.
“It is important to recognize that there is a diversity of views on this issue in our hemisphere, as there is in the United States,” Jean-Pierre said. “The president’s main position is that we don’t think dictators should be invited.”
Jean-Pierre and the senior administration official were asked in separate contexts about the existence of a double standard related to Biden’s potential trip this summer to Saudi Arabia, which is widely expected but not officially planned. Such a trip could include a meeting between the president and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the United States has previously determined authorized the operation that led to the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.
“We have at no time said, including in the participation discussions related to this summit, that we are severing all relations or refusing to engage with countries about which we have significant concerns related to democratic governance. We engage with countries like this in all regions of the world, and we will engage with countries like this in our own hemisphere when we believe it is in our best interests to do so,” the official said. senior administrative official. “It’s a different question if and when we invite these countries to participate in a regional gathering that we believe is intended and best served by celebrating the democratic principles that unite the vast majority of the hemisphere.”
Public and private sector leaders were already making major summit-related announcements as early as Tuesday.