President-elect Donald Trump won’t send a representative to the annual gathering of the world’s economic elite next week in Davos, which is taking place just days before his inauguration.
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“No one will be attending,” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement to Bloomberg.
A senior member of Trump’s transition team said the president-elect thought it would betray his populist-fueled movement to have a presence at the gathering in the Swiss Alps. The group of billionaires and political leaders represents the power structure that fueled the populist anger that helped Trump win the presidential election, according to the person, who asked for anonymity to discuss the matter.
World Economic Forum (WEF) founder Klaus Schwab met with members of Trump’s staff in December.
During his campaign, Trump labeled his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, “a globalist” and portrayed himself as a champion for the working class fighting an unfair economic system. Since the election, Trump, who would be the US first billionaire president, has nominated for his Cabinet two billionaires and about a dozen millionaires.
Many in the upper ranks of his administration are from the world of finance.
A study by the World Economic Forum released ahead of the Davos gathering concluded that the weak economic recovery following the global financial crisis has widened the gap between rich and poor, fueling a sense of “economic malaise” that’s led to the rise of populist parties.
While Trump and his administration will not be attending, Chinese leader Xi Jinping is set to become the first Chinese president to attend the forum, bringing with him a contingent of China’s wealthiest executives. China is casting itself as an advocate of globalization, in contrast to Trump’s “America First” platform that was critical of free-trade deals.
Xi will join 3,000 other attendees, who will include UK Prime Minister Theresa May, outgoing US Vice President Joe Biden and South African President Jacob Zuma. The World Economic Forum wraps up on Jan. 20, the same day Trump is set to take the oath of office.