Trump to attend annual economic forum in Davos, Switzerland

WASHINGTON (AP) — United States (US) President Donald Trump plans to attend a global economic forum in Switzerland this month, making up for an appearance he cancelled during last year’s record-long shutdown of the US government.

The annual World Economic Forum, held in the popular ski resort of Davos, attracts wealthy, high-profile business and political figures, along with academics and other leaders of society. Trump’s January 21-22 appearance will mark his first time on the world stage since he authorised the US military to kill Iran’s top military commander.

It will also be Trump’s first trip outside of the US since becoming only the third American president to be impeached, and the first one to carry that mark into a reelection campaign. Trump will address the gathering about two weeks before the first voting in the process that will determine his Democratic opponent in the November election.

The Democratic-controlled House impeached the Republican president on grounds of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over his dealings with Ukraine. Trump awaits a trial in the majority Republican Senate, which is not expected to vote to remove him from office. Trump insists he did nothing wrong in his dealings with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and argues that the permanent blotch of impeachment is unwarranted for a president with his record on the economy and other issues.

He is expected to pitch that record later this month during his second appearance at the Davos forum.

Trump asserted in an address to the conference in 2018 that his agenda of putting America first can coexist with global cooperation. The President cited a partial shutdown of the US government when he pulled out of the 2019 forum, blaming Democratic lawmakers for what he said was their unwillingness to negotiate a resolution.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham confirmed on Wednesday that Trump will be attending this year’s forum.

Swaths of the government were forced to cease operations for a record 35 days during a standoff between Trump and congressional Democrats over his demand for billions of dollars to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. Trump announced on New Year’s Day that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead a delegation to the economic forum from January 20-24 that will include the secretaries of commerce, labour, and transportation and the US trade representative. Trump also named his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, both White House senior advisers, to the delegation.

US President Donald Trump (L) arrives to address the nation on the ballistic missile strike that Iran launched against Iraqi air bases housing US troops, at the White House on January 8 in Washington. PHOTO: AP