Davos is an unlikely venue for Trump's heralding of an "America First" agenda
The event has become a byword for the brand of high-minded globalism Trump denounced as a candidate
High in the Swiss Alps, President Donald Trump plans to crow this week that his protectionist policies have helped drive a resurgent American economy. His message will resonate far beyond the snow-blanketed valleys below.
Business and political leaders the world over are anxiously awaiting what Trump will say to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the annual gathering of movers and shakers which this year features the first visit by a US president in almost two decades.
Davos is an unlikely venue for Trump’s heralding of an “America First” agenda. The event has become a byword for the brand of high-minded globalism that Trump angrily denounced as a candidate and has found little place in his White House.
In some ways, Trump’s decision to become the first American president to visit Davos since Bill Clinton did in 2000 was a predictable outcome for a man who, for decades, has sought acceptance by the rarified world of the ultra-rich. Now, he arrives at the annual party more powerful than them, eager to take a victory lap around those who excluded him for years.
Yet for the third time, it’s a foreign trip that begins under the shadow of developments in the Russia investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump left for Saudi Arabia in May just as Mueller was appointed, departed for Asia in November as the first criminal charges in the probe were filed, and leaves this week amid new revelations of interviews with his attorney general and the FBI director he fired.
Trump arrived in Switzerland on Thursday morning and plans to spend only one night. His brief appearance at the Davos forum has already caused agitation and eye-rolling among some of the gathering’s regular attendees, who wonder whether he’ll lambast or even shame them when he takes the stage on Friday morning. Trump’s advisers say he’ll link his governing agenda to the record markets and low unemployment currently fueling American growth.
“The President’s appearance is there to sell his accomplishments, to remind the world that we are open for business, that we’re a competitive country, that we have made America very competitive, and that everyone should understand what he has accomplished in his first year, and what we’re going to continue to accomplish in the next three remaining years,” said Gary Cohn, the director of the White House’s National Economic Council.
Cohn, along with at least 15 other top-ranking administration officials or Cabinet secretaries, has traveled to Switzerland with Trump. First lady Melania Trump was originally scheduled to join her husband, but withdrew this week citing “scheduling and logistical issues.” The announcement came as the White House battled back accusations