Declaring America is “open for business” under his leadership, US President Donald Trump has told a gathering of political and business elites the economic growth taking place in the US, due to his “America first” agenda, also benefits the rest of the world.
Mr Trump told the World Economic Forum in Davos, an incongruous location for a nationalist president, that American prosperity has created countless jobs around the world, but stressed his priority would always remain on protecting the interests within his nation’s own borders.
“As President of the United States, I will always put American first just as the leaders of other countries should put their countries first,” Mr Trump said.
But the President tried to strike a balance, tempering his nationalist agenda with reassurances to the globalist and cooperation-minded audience his protectionist vision “does not mean America alone”.
“When the United States grows, so does the world,” Mr Trump said.
“American prosperity has created countless jobs around the globe and the drive for excellence, creativity and innovation in the United States has led to important discoveries that help people everywhere live more prosperous and healthier lives.”
As Forum chairman Klaus Schwab introduced Mr Trump, he drew some hisses when he said the President could be subject to “misconceptions and biased interpretations”.
‘Nasty, mean and fake’
When he took the stage, Mr Trump received modest applause but some people kept their hands at their sides.
The crowd was largely subdued as he spoke but there were boos when Mr Trump took a swipe at the media.
During a question-and-answer session with the forum’s founder, he said it was not until he became a politician that he realised “how nasty, how mean, how vicious and how fake the press can be”.
Once more shadowed by revelations back home about the ongoing Russia probe, Mr Trump showcased the country’s roaring economy and made a pitch to the world leaders that “America is open for business and we are competitive once again”.
“We support free trade but it needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal,” Mr Trump said.
TPP back on the table
However, Mr Trump also left the door open to re-entering the Trans Pacific Partnership, a sweeping trade deal from which he withdrew a year ago, saying “perhaps” the United States could resume negotiations with many of the participating countries at once.
Mr Trump said he will negotiate trade deals individually or as a group with trans-Pacific trade countries “if it is in the interests of all” sides adding that unfair trade “undermines us all”.
As if making a salesman’s pitch, Mr Trump repeatedly boasted about the nation’s economy and pushed for international cooperation combatting terrorism.
But he left unaddressed a number of concerns for the globalist community, including climate change, the fate of refugees and diplomatic solutions for a number of the world’s hotspots, including the Middle East.
Mr Trump sought to ease tensions with a key African leader, meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and calling him a “friend” in the aftermath of his controversial comments about African countries.
The meeting came after Mr Trump drew widespread condemnation for allegedly referring to African nations as “shithole countries” in discussing immigration, a claim he has partly denied.
On Friday he declared his visit had been a success, adding: “We have a tremendous crowd and a crowd like they’ve never had before.”