Mnuchin: 'I didn't realize' Davos forum was for 'global elites'

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOmarosa book: Trump opposed replacing Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on bill The Hill's Morning Report: Where the Mueller probe stands Treasury releases proposed rules on major part of Trump tax law MORE said Friday that he was not aware that the World Economic Forum was considered a gathering of the "global elite."

"I didn't realize it was the global elite," Mnuchin said at an event in Washington. "Actually, I've looked at the list. There's an awful lot of world leaders, there's an awful lot of finance chairs, there’s an awful lot of business people."

"This is an important economic agenda," he added, arguing that the gathering in Davos, Switzerland is just like any other conferences, like the annual Group of 20 summit. 

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The World Economic Forum, however, carries a reputation as a gathering of wealthy executives, government officials and celebrities in a Swiss resort town, making President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Pawlenty loses comeback bid in Minnesota Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary MORE's scheduled attendance there later this month a somewhat unexpected move.

As a presidential candidate, Trump campaigned against the so-called "elite" and "globalists," who typically attend the forum in Davos. 

Mnuchin announced at a White House press briefing on Thursday that he would lead the delegation to the World Economic Forum, which takes place Jan. 23-26, and insisted that the event was not a gathering for "globalists."

"I don’t think it’s a hangout for globalists," he said. "I think the idea is that the economic team will go over and talk about the America First economic strategy."