President Barack Obama will be skipping the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting for the first time since taking office, the White House said this week according to a report from Politico. President Obama has addressed the annual meeting every year since taking office in 2009.
President Obama will be in New York for the United Nations General Assembly with Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden. Kerry and Biden will not be attending the event either. Megan Smith, chief technology officer, will be the highest-ranking member of the Obama administration in attendance.
The decision comes as Vice President Biden considers a run for presidency. The White House insists the only motive behind the decision to skip the event is President Obama’s busy schedule.
“Given Pope Francis’s trip, the State Visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, and the convening of the United Nations General Assembly this week, an appearance at the Clinton Global Initiative was just not something we could fold into the president’s schedule this year,” said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.
This will be the first annual meeting Hillary Clinton will attend as a presidential candidate. President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea will be headlining the four-day gathering with over 1,000 expected to attend.
The Clinton Global Initiative is an affiliate of the Clinton foundation. It was founded in 2001 after President Clinton left office. The initiative meets annually during the United Nations General Assembly in order to bring elite politicians and business leaders together.
President Obama addressed those in attendance at last year’s annual meeting.
“I think one of the best decisions I ever made as president was to ask Hillary Clinton to serve as our nation’s Secretary of State,” Obama said, speaking to the crowd in Manhattan last year.