Manchin & Sinema attend Davos luncheon with CEOs

People communicate with each other at the Congress Center for the World Economic Forum WEF Annual Meeting 2023 in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 15, 2023. 

Lian Yi | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

DAVOS, Switzerland – U.S. lawmakers quietly took part in a private ritzy lunch atop the World Economic Forum on Monday featuring dozens of influential business leaders, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Lawmakers in attendance included members of the U.S. congressional delegation taking part in the annual confab for the elite and wealthy in Davos, including Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Chris Coons, D-Del., Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz. and a few members of the House of Representatives, these people explained. Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp also attended the event, one of the people said.

Coons, Manchin, Sinema and Kemp are among the U.S.-based officials scheduled to participate in panel sessions at this year’s conference. These private events on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum often serve as meet-and-greets between CEOs, billionaires and government officials.

Coons and Manchin each separately addressed the crowd of corporate leaders at the lunch, said an attendee, who declined to be identified speaking about a private gathering.

Coons discussed U.S. aid being given to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion while Manchin, who is the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called for American energy independence, this person noted. Congress passed $40 billion in additional aid for Ukraine last year.

The private lunch was held at the Hotel Schatzalp, which is primarily accessible by riding a funicular, or tram, up the property, those with knowledge of the gathering explained. An attendee said the gathering took place at the hotel’s Belle Epoque restaurant, with salmon and a beef dish served to participants.

The business leaders came from a wide variety of backgrounds, including the CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Antonio Neri, Klaus Schwab, the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum and the heads of a variety of non-governmental organizations, among others, this attendee said.

Coons told CNBC on the sidelines before the lunch that members of the congressional delegation were heading to the lunch “with about 50 CEOs.” He didn’t say which executives were scheduled to attend.

A Hewlett Packard Enterprise representative confirmed Neri’s attendance. Representatives for the lawmakers mentioned in this story didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

The Hotel Schatzalp first opened as a luxury sanatorium for wealthy clients in 1900 by Dutch entrepreneur Willem Jan Holsboer, according to the property’s website.

The modern Art Nouveau structure, perched above Europe’s highest town at 1900 meters above sea level, was converted into a hotel in 1953.

Members of the U.S. congressional delegation in Davos, Switzerland for World Economic Forum

Brian Schwartz | CNBC

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