President Donald Trump cancelled the US delegation’s trip to the global economic summit in Davos hours after he denied House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a plane to visit US troops in Afghanistan.
“Out of consideration for the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay and to ensure his team can assist as needed, President Trump has cancelled his delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday in a statement.
Trump personally made the decision to cancel the Davos trip Thursday afternoon, two White House officials said.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was to lead the delegation, which was also to include Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Mr Trump had planned to attend but previously cancelled his own travel to the event because of the shutdown. Federal money typically already would have been spent on advance preparations for the cabinet secretaries’ trip.
Several Democratic members of Congress swiftly criticised Mnuchin for proceeding with plans to go to the Swiss ski resort to meet with the financial elite and heads of state while Mr Trump was preventing the speaker from visiting US troops in a war zone.
Ms Pelosi hadn’t announced her trip, which likely wouldn’t have been made public in advance for her security. She had planned to depart Thursday afternoon, according to a person with knowledge of her itinerary.
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House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal summoned Mr Mnuchin on Thursday for a hearing on the economic impact of the shutdown on January 24, when he was scheduled to depart Davos.
The absence of a US delegation at Davos is a sharp contrast to last year when Trump was the first US president to visit the conference in 18 years, and the White House sent a large group of cabinet secretaries and top White House aides. Trump was embraced warmly by CEOs and business leaders at the event after signing into law a major reduction in U.S. corporate income tax rates.