Eli Ridder | SWITZERLAND
United States President Donald Trump was in Davos for the World Economic Forum for just over a day, but made an impact that many at the super elite international conference in Switzerland responded to in both positive and negative ways.
Mr. Trump was already making history just by his arrival on Thursday by being the first sitting U.S. president in three decades to attend the forum, touting his “America First” message to an audience largely pro-globalization and international trade.
However, analysts report that Trump didn’t go out of his way to criticize global trade, but rather approached his major Davos address as a promotion speech for business in the U.S., saying “there has never been a better time to do business in America.”
Although the tone Trump often employs against liberal trade is negative, the president was enthusiastic in his promotion of the U.S. as competitive and attractive for global business and their investments.
The president told those gathered at WEF that Washington’s “America First” agenda would not prevent him from negotiating bilateral trade agreements with individual countries as long as it is in the best interest of the United States.
Trump explained that since his election the “world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and prosperous America.”
“I’m here to deliver a simple message: there has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest and to grow in the United States.”
At the end of the carefully crafted 15 -minute speech via teleprompter, the Republican president went off message in comments to the forum criticizing the “nasty, mean and face” news media and condemnation of the opposing Democratic Party.
Boo’s, hisses and general disgruntlement accompanied Trump’s comments on the media in front of global elitists, before he promptly moved on to speak on other topics.
Trump addressed an exclusive story that broke Thursday night from The New York Times who reported that the president nearly fired Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into alleged inference by Russia in the 2016 president election.
“Fake news, folks. Fake news,” Trump said when questioned about the report as he entered the forum early on Friday.
“Typical New York Times,” he said in dismissal.
Trump had called for Mueller to be fired in June of last year, according to the report, citing multiple anonymous officials familiar with the matter.
White House advisor Don McGahn had refused to order the Justice Department to fire Mueller because he disagreed with the president’s reasoning, the source said.
However, according to the source, McGahn did not threaten to resign directly to Trump.
As Air Force One lifted for takeoff from Zurich, a New York Times photojournalist covering the trip noticed that someone had written “climate change is real” in the snow next to the airstrip, making it visible from the air.
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Image of Donald Trump’s Davos speech from Quartz.