President Donald Trump yesterday reached out to the global business elite and foreign governments in Davos with a sales pitch extolling America’s appeal, but attracted boos for attacking the media.
In a 15-minute speech at the climax of his debut appearance at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps, Trump offered “America’s friendship and partnership” in both trade and security, and said: “‘America First’ does not mean America alone.”
“The world is experiencing the resurgence of a strong and prosperous America. America is open for business and we are competitive once again,” he said.
Trump kept to an orthodox political script and measured tone in his speech, during which he praised his well-heeled audience of 1,500 people as comprising some of the world’s most “remarkable citizens”.
He added that the United States supports free trade, “but it needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal”, condemning “predatory behaviours” such as theft of intellectual property, industrial subsidies and state-led economic planning.
The president’s speech came at the end of a week that saw his administration target China and South Korea with new tariffs, and experience turmoil in currency markets caused by his Treasury secretary apparently tolerating a weaker dollar.
His remarks on trade were met in silence by the Davos audience, after Trump took office on an “America First” platform following years of US job losses to cheaper countries.
But they booed when he strayed off script during a brief question session after the speech with an attack on the “nasty”, “mean”, “vicious” and “fake” press.
The charge that Trump is racist earned new traction this month with his reported slur against “shithole” countries in Africa.
Before his speech in Davos, he held talks with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who currently chairs the African Union. Trump asked Kagame to pass on his “warmest regards” to other regional leaders at an AU summit this weekend.
But some business chiefs and activists from Africa said they planned to boycott Trump’s closing speech in Davos.
Trump’s presence in Switzerland has been dogged by protests and stunts by activists.
Trump also said that US-backed coalition forces had won back almost 100 percent of territory occupied by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
*News Searching By Thedailystar*