President Donald Trump on Thursday cancelled his planned trip to the annual and glittering economic conference in Davos, Switzerland, citing what he called the Democrats’ intransigence on his funding request to build a wall along the United States’ southern border.
Trump and congressional Democrats are at an impasse over the president’s request of over $5.7 billion to build the wall. That impasse caused a partial government shutdown, which has been going for nearly three weeks.
Earlier Thursday, Trump told reporters that he still planned to go to the World Economic Forum in Davos later this month. It was not immediately clear what made him change his mind when he posted his change of plans on Twitter.
“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 wrote on Twitter. “My warmest regards and apologies to the @WEF!”
The forum, an annual gathering of the world’s political and financial elite, is typically an event American presidents avoid. Trump was the first president to attend the forum, in 2018, since Bill Clinton attended in 2000.
As Trump left for Texas on Thursday, where he planned to make a case for the wall, the president said that if the shutdown persisted, he would cancel his Davos trip.
“I intended to go and speak in front of the world financial community in Davos,” Trump said Thursday. “But if the shutdown continues — which is in a while from now — but if the shutdown continues, I won’t go. I had planned to go. It’s been very successful when I went.”
The White House had not disclosed a specific agenda for Trump during the forum in Davos, which begins Jan 22.
But officials have said it might have been a setting for high-level trade discussions between the United States and China. The latest round of negotiations between the nations ended Wednesday.