Trump team won't send official rep to Davos forum

Mr Donald Trump won't send an official representative to the annual gathering of the world's economic elite in Davos.
Mr Donald Trump won't send an official representative to the annual gathering of the world's economic elite in Davos.PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON • United States President-elect Donald Trump will not send an official representative to the annual gathering of the world's economic elite in Davos, taking place in the days leading up to his inauguration, although one of Mr Trump's advisers is slated to attend.

Former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, a regular attendee in the past, told the group he would skip the 2017 meet after being named last month to head the National Economic Council, said people familiar with the conference. Other top Trump appointees will also pass up the forum.

A senior member of the Trump transition team saidMr Trump thought it would betray his populist-fuelled movement to have a presence at the high-powered annual gathering in the Swiss Alps.

The gathering of millionaires, billionaires, political leaders and celebrities represents the power structure that fuelled the populist anger which helped Mr Trump win the election, said the person, who asked for anonymity to discuss the matter.

But hedge fund manager Anthony Scaramucci is planning to travel to Davos. Mr Scaramucci, founder of SkyBridge Capital and an early backer of the Trump campaign, was named last Thursday as an assistant to Mr Trump.

Mr Scaramucci, who has attended the forum several times, made plans before being selected for the White House team and is travelling in an unofficial capacity, said Trump spokesman Hope Hicks.

The forum schedule lists him on a Jan 17 panel that will cover "the priorities, challenges and opportunities for the incoming government of the US", and identifies him as an executive member of Mr Trump's transition team.

"Anthony Scaramucci has been a longstanding participant at the annual meeting, and as such has been registered to attend since last spring," Mr Paul Smyke, head of the North America World Economic Forum, said in a statement.

Mr Scaramucci will depart Davos in time to attend Mr Trump's swearing-in on Friday. Political adviser Rebekah Mercer is also registered to attend. Ms Mercer, a major Republican donor whose father is hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer, is a member of the Trump transition team and has been influential in helping to hire senior staff, but does not have an official role in the incoming administration.

During the campaign, Mr Trump labelled his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, "a globalist" and portrayed himself as a champion for the working class fighting an unfair economic system.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2017, with the headline 'Trump team won't send official rep to Davos forum'. Print Edition | Subscribe