Trump Out to Show Davos Elite He Knows Best
Trump arrives at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Switzerland this morning with a familiar message for the global elites gathered at the World Economic Forum: You were wrong.
A year ago, some Davos participants predicted Trump’s protectionist rhetoric would lead to sluggish economic growth and lackluster stock market gains. It didn’t. And the president isn’t about to let that go unnoticed.
He joins a large U.S. delegation that’s already shaking things up. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent the greenback tumbling yesterday when he said a weaker dollar isn’t a concern and actually would be good for trade. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that the U.S. was already in a trade war, a day after Trump said it wasn’t.
Look for the president to boast about U.S. economic performance during his first year in office — unemployment down, the stock market up, robust growth.
But accomplishing the central goal of his visit will require a bit more nuance. Can the bombastic president, prone to going off script, convince the Davos audience in a major speech tomorrow that his populist “America First” policies can co-exist with globalism?
Mueller moving quickly | U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is moving faster than expected and appears to be wrapping up at least one key part of his investigation — whether Trump obstructed justice. The president told reporters during an impromptu session at the White House yesterday he’s “looking forward” to speaking to Mueller under oath and suggested that may happen in two to three weeks.
Path to citizenship | At the same briefing, Trump said he’s open to giving young undocumented immigrants a 10- to 12-year path to citizenship in a deal with Congress, though an administration official later emphasized the idea is only a discussion point so far. Meanwhile, a group of mayors boycotted an infrastructure meeting with Trump to protest his hard-line immigration policies.
Middle East tensions | Yesterday it was Trump, today his homeland security adviser spoke out. Frustrations in Washington over Turkey’s offensive against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in northern Syria are coming to the boil. White House aide Tom Bossert warned of “grave consequences” from any Turkish miscalculation as growing tensions between the NATO allies push the Ankara government closer to Russia and Iran.
China’s investment pushback | The Chinese official who oversees $24 billion of state-owned corporate assets accused the Trump administration of discriminating against his country’s investment plans. Xiao Yaping made his plea for fair treatment in an interview with Bloomberg, even as a top Treasury official warned senators legislation is needed to bolster U.S. controls on foreign investment.
Fundraiser fallout | Male business leaders and government attendees of London’s Presidents Club Charity Dinner are rushing to explain, defend themselves against or brush off a Financial Times report that multiple hostesses at the men-only event were harassed, groped and insulted. Joe Mayes and Kitty Donaldson look at the row.
And finally... While Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Davos pitching India as a global investment destination, just 80 kilometers from New Delhi in the village of Dhamaka, where many still cook over open fires, residents were worrying about a lack of jobs and their deepening debt trap. As Bibhudatta Pradhan and Vrishti Beniwal report, the woes of the country’s vast rural constituencies underscore the need for a boost in spending in Modi’s Feb. 1 budget, as he eyes national elections just under a year away.
--With assistance from Iain Marlow
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