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 ChaoLion Air voice recorder reveals pilots' frantic struggle to control plane: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight Trump nominates former Delta executive to lead FAA MORE said Wednesday that critics who don't want to listen to President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report 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 ClintonThe wisdom of Trump's lawyers, and the accountability that must follow Mueller's report JOBS for Success Act would recognize that all people have potential Howard Schultz is holding the Democratic Party hostage 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.