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Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Eight members of President Trump's Cabinet, including Trump himself, are currently scheduled to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, later this month, according to a source with direct knowledge.

Between the lines: The number may shrink if the government shutdown continues, as some officials seem to be aware it won't be a great look for the Trump Cabinet to be seen socializing with plutocrats and global elites while federal workers are furloughed and programs for vulnerable Americans are threatened.

Behind the scenes: The Cabinet officials who are currently set to attend this year’s forum include Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

  • Axios contacted the White House and the offices of all the Cabinet officials scheduled to attend the Davos conference; none would comment on the record.
  • A second source familiar with the administration’s Davos plans told Axios that if the shutdown continues, it would probably mean some Cabinet officials on the list would stay home. Mnuchin, who is leading the delegation, may still attend with several other senior officials, the source said. (As the administration's top economic official, his attendance is expected.)

Previous administrations have sent equally large delegations to Davos. In 2016, the Obama administration sent Vice President Joe Biden and seven Cabinet-rank officials to the elite gathering, according to the WEF’s 2016 agenda.

The bottom line: Davos is an efficient way to meet with the world's most powerful people — a rare moment when so many are in one place — but in this populist era, politicians are increasingly being asked to justify their attendance. That's especially so for officials who represent a billionaire president who has sought to cast himself as a populist outsider.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Blinken protests Israel settlements approval in "tense" phone call

Benny Gantz (L) and Tony Blinken. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken protested the decision to approve 3,000 new housing units in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank during a tense phone call on Tuesday with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, three Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is the first time new construction in the settlements has been approved since President Biden assumed office, and the Biden administration had been privately pressing the Israeli government not to proceed.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.