President Donald Trump will travel to Davos, Switzerland, next month for a second straight appearance at the World Economic Forum – the annual gathering of financial, political and entertainment elites who are often in opposition to Trump policies.
“The president will attend as he did last year,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said of the forum to be held Jan. 22-25.
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 his last appearance at Davos, telling delegates: “Let us resolve to use our power, our resources, and our voices, not just for ourselves, but for our people.”
This time around, Trump will travel to Davos while under investigation at home, after fights with leaders of France and Germany over his “nationalist” policies, and amid fierce trade battles with China and Europe.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will also lead the Davos delegation, which includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law.
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).
Veteran forum delegates expressed skepticism before Trump’s visit last year.
In a series of meetings and in his speech to the gathering, however, Trump avoided attacks on free trade and globalization. He spoke instead about attracting investment into the United States, and promoted his tax cut and anti-regulation agenda.
“Over the past year, we have made extraordinary strides in the United States,” Trump told Davos delegates.
Before that speech, a reporter asked Trump, “Are you going to be treated well?”
“You tell me,” Trump responded.