Hours after the president refused Democratic speaker Nancy Pelosi the use of a military plane for a congressional delegation’s visit to Afghanistan, the White House said Mr Trump had decided not to send a delegation to Switzerland next week.
“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 Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
Mr Trump visited the forum last year, typically attended by world leaders and major financiers, and delivered a speech in which he said putting America first did not mean America intended to go it “alone”. “Historically I guess there’s never really been a businessman or business person elected president,” he said. “It’s always been a general or a politician.”
He had been due to attend this year’s event as well, but changed his plan as the government shutdown, caused by his failure to agree a funding compromise with Democrats that does not include $5.6bn for a border wall, entered its fourth week.
Instead, the US was to have been represented by Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, trade representative Robert Lighthizer and deputy chief of staff for policy coordination, Chris Liddell, were also scheduled to travel to Switzerland.
Earlier on Thursday, the president denied permission for Ms Pelosi and her delegation to use a military plane for an overseas visit. He claimed it had been done to try and persuade her to stay in Washington to negotiate and end to the partial shutdown that has now reached its 28th day, though many suspected it was pay-back for her suggestion he delay the upcoming State of the Union address.
Ms Pelosi had been scheduled to travel on a military aircraft as part of a congressional delegation to Belgium, where Nato is based, and Afghanistan to visit American troops stationed there.
In a letter to Pelosi denying her delegation the use of a plane, the president called the trip an “excursion”, even though the Democrat’s spokesman said the trip to the Afghanistan war zone was for security and intelligence briefings.
“In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” Mr Trump wrote.
He told Ms Pelosi that if she wish to make the trip flying by commercial aircraft, “that would certainly be your prerogative”.
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