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Trump cancels visit to WEF meeting in Davos

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Trump cancels visit to WEF meeting in Davos
US President Donald Trump on Thursday before departing for the US-Mexico border as part of his all-out offensive to build a wall. Photo: AFP
23:11 CET+01:00
US president Donald Trump on Thursday announced he would be cancelling his visit to the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos because of "the Democrats intransigence" over his plans to build a wall along the US–Mexico border.

“Because of the Democrats intransigence on Border Security and the great importance of Safety for our Nation, I am respectfully cancelling my very important trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum,” Trump tweeted.

“My warmest regards and apologies to the @WEF!” he added.

Trump is currently engaged in a stand-off with Democrats in the US congress over his demand for $5.7 billion in funding for the construction of a wall along the Mexican border designed to keep illegal immigrants out of the United States. That wall was a key promise made by Trump in his 2016 election campaign.

The stand-off over funding has caused a partial government shutdown in the US, and Trump warned recently the current situation could last “years”.

A blow to the Swiss government

Trump's decision to cancel his trip to the meeting of the world's business and political elites in the Swiss resort town of Davos will come as a blow to the Swiss government.

Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer was due to hold a private meeting with Trump with a possible Swiss–US free trade agreement among the topics up for discussion.

Trump's non-attendance could also take the wind out of the sails of Switzerland's Young Socialists who are set to stage an anti-capitalist protest during the event which runs from January 22nd to January 25th. 

Financial pressures?

The US is now set to send a smaller delegation to Davos headed up by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Fortune magazine reported.

On Wednesday, US news site Quartz noted that, before the shutdown, the US delegation had already spent $2.9 million on hotel expenses alone for Davos 2019 with new charges bringing that total to around $3.6 million – this despite a government shutdown which has seen many federal employees going unpaid.

But one insider told Quartz the delegation would likely be downsized if the shutdown continued, with Mnuchin taking a smaller group to Switzerland. This now appears to be how the scenario has played out.

Trump attended last year's event in Davos, becoming the first US president to do so since President Bill Clinton in 2000.

 

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