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Chao in Davos: Those who don't want to listen to Trump 'can leave'

Chao in Davos: Those who don't want to listen to Trump 'can leave'
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Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoWomen set to take key roles in Biden administration New administration, House turnover raise prospects for more diversity on K Street Reinvesting in American leadership MORE said Wednesday that critics who don't want to listen to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE when he attends the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos this week "can leave."

"Davos should feel very flattered that he has chosen this as a forum,” Chao said at a panel discussion, according to Politico. "Those who don’t want to listen to him can leave."

When Trump travels to the Swiss Alpine resort town this week, he will become the first U.S. president in nearly two decades to attend the World Economic Forum, a gathering of powerful finance and business officials largely considered aligned with the free trade and globalism that Trump and his aides have derided. 

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But Chao defended his decision to attend, saying on Wednesday that the president was doing so in order to engage world leaders on issues of economic importance, Politico reported. 

The last U.S. president to participate in the gathering in Davos was Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBookExpo organizers 'retiring' event Harris selects Tina Flournoy as chief of staff: report One-termers: What Trump can learn from Carter and Bush's re-election losses MORE, who attended in 2000. 

Chao also dismissed suggestions that Trump has led a U.S. withdrawal from global leadership and engagement, according to Politico.

“When we talk about America around the globe, it’s not as if America is going to withdraw,” she said.

On the campaign trail and in his first year in office, Trump has railed against multilateral agreements and trade deals, many of which he has claimed are unfair to the U.S. Shortly after taking office last year, for example, he withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-nation trade agreement. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that the remaining TPP signatories had reached a trade deal that doesn't include the U.S.