Toronto Star

President plans to attend global elite Davos gathering

World Economic Forum known as meeting-place for richest, most powerful people

- MAGGIE HABERMAN AND MICHAEL D. SHEAR THE NEW YORK TIMES

WASHINGTON— U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to attend the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerlan­d, in the coming weeks, an administra­tion official said Tuesday.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president was looking forward to attending the gathering.

“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.”

Trump’s planned appearance at an event that is synonymous with wealth and elite prestige comes as he enters the second year of a term he won on a message of economic populism.

Presidents have rarely attended the forum in Davos, in part out of a concern that it would send the wrong message to be rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s richest individual­s.

Trump won the 2016 election in part by attacking elites in the United States and promising to “drain the swamp” in Washington of lobbyists, corporate influence and members of the establishm­ent — the very descriptio­n of those who regularly attend the Davos forum.

Founded in 1971, the forum has become an annual conference that includes parties, dinners and panel discussion­s. Officially, it is an academic conference; unofficial­ly, it is a schmoozefe­st for the rich and powerful.

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