President Trump touched down in Switzerland early Thursday, where he intends to bring his “America First” message to a skeptical – and possibly hostile – gathering of global political and business leaders at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.
Trump, much of whose base back home views the meeting as a conference of global elitists, is expected to meet with world leaders, attend a reception, host a dinner for European business executives and give a keynote address Friday.
Trump should not expect a warm welcome after spending much of his first year as president pushing the pro-America agenda, in rhetoric as well as trade policy. Even before his arrival, world leaders signaled veiled displeasure with the American president’s policies.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her address Wednesday, warned of the dangers of protectionism, and her French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, spoke of a “shared framework” and shared responsibilities among nations.
“We are seeing nationalism, populism and in a lot of countries a polarized atmosphere,” Merkel said Wednesday, in a speech at Davos. “We believe that isolation won’t help us. We believe we need to cooperate, that protectionism is not the answer.
“Have we really learned from history, or haven’t we?”
Said Macron: “If we aren’t able to agree a standard of international cooperation, we will never convince the middle class, the working class that globalization is good for them.”
In his keynote address, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi named “protectionism” as a key global challenge, along with climate change and terrorism.
Trump also offended many from the African delegation, with his alleged recent off-the-record comment disparaging “s—hole countries,” a remark that was purportedly aimed at Haiti and nations in Africa. That has sparked speculation that some may walk out on Trump’s address, a prospect raised by Business Leadership South Africa CEO Bonang Mohale in an open letter.
Others have suggested leaving Trump’s speech in progress may make a more powerful statement.
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SOURCE: Fox News, The Associated Press