The White House on Thursday announced that its U.S. delegation would not attend a high-profile economic conference in Davos, Switzerland due to the partial government shutdown, which in its 26th day shows no signs of ending.
“Out of consideration for the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay and to ensure his team can assist as needed, President Trump has canceled his Delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
Last week, Trump announced that he would not attend the World Economic Forum, a wonky-yet-glitzy annual event that draws many opponents of the president.
In a post on Twitter, the president apologized and blamed his cancellation on Democrats, who he’s been battling over $5.7 billion to construct a wall along the southern border.
“Because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation, I am respectfully cancelling [sic] my very important trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum,” Trump said in a tweet. “My warmest regards and apologies to the @WEF!”
This would have been Trump’s second straight appearance at Davos, which attracts financial, political and entertainment elites.
From the singer Bono to former presidents like Bill Clinton, Davos has tended to attract delegates who promote free trade and encourage international alliances, ideas often at odds with Trump and his “America First” agenda.
Trump, however, played down those disputes in last year’s speech at Davos, telling delegates: “Let us resolve to use our power, our resources, and our voices, not just for ourselves, but for our people.”
Established in 1971, the World Economic Forum says its goal is to bring together “the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.”
The World Economic Forum website says it strives “to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance,” and that “moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does.”
Davos has become an annual happening for politicians seeking to burnish their global credentials, entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses, and various celebrities seeking to promote their charities (or themselves).
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