Trump to attend Davos despite criticizing forum during his campaign

  10 January 2018    Read: 623
Trump to attend Davos despite criticizing forum during his campaign

Donald Trump is set to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, the elite annual meeting of billionaires, businessmen and politicians.

Sitting presidents have rarely attended the event, held at a ski resort in the Swiss mountains, fearing its reputation for elitism may not play well politically at home.

Davos was once held up by the Trump campaign as an example of what was wrong with Hillary Clinton’s Democratic party. The working men and women in the world were “tired of being dictated to by what we call the party of Davos”, Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon declared before the election.

Now Trump is set to become the first sitting president since Bill Clinton to attend the conference, which takes place at the end of January.

In a statement, Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said: “The president welcomes opportunities to advance his America First agenda with world leaders,” Sanders said. “At this year’s World Economic Forum, the president looks forward to promoting his policies to strengthen American businesses, American industries and American workers.”

Last year President Xi Jinping became the first Chinese leader to address the conference, arguing for the protection of free trade at a time when the Trump administration was pledging to erect more trade barriers.

This year India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, will make the first speech at the event by an Indian leader.

Clinton first attended the event in 2000, the forum’s 30th anniversary. Neither George W Bush nor Barack Obama visited the conference. Ronald Reagan appeared several times, via video link.

Among this year’s speakers are Trump’s chief economics adviser, Gary Cohn, former Democratic vice-president Joe Biden, former British prime minister Gordon Brown and Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

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