President Trump took credit for a “great American comeback” in a subdued address to business leaders in the Swiss Alps Tuesday, saying his push to lift up workers, cut red tape and tap energy resources can serve as a template for the rest of the world.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Mr. Trump said he unleashed the potential of America by reducing taxes, slashing regulations and reorganizing global trade.
“Today I’m proud to declare the United States is in the midst of an economic boom the likes of which the world has never seen before,” Mr. Trump said at the Davos Congress Centre. “America is thriving, America is flourishing, and yes, America is winning again like never before.”
He also took oblique swipes at “socialists” and “pessimists” looking for sweeping government changes to deal with climate change and other challenges, saying a market-based economy is the way forward.
“This is not a time for pessimism, it is a time for optimism,” he said.
He attacked the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates and then cutting them too slowly, saying people in other countries are essentially getting paid to borrow money.
Mr. Trump also said he was the only one bold enough to take on China, saying his phase-one deal stopped Beijing’s forced transfer of technology from U.S. firms, open its financial services sector and purchase agricultural goods. He said tariffs will remain in place while he works on the second phase of the China deal.
Largely sticking to his prepared remarks, Mr. Trump painted a bleak picture of the U.S. before he took office. He pointed to flat wages and “ordinary” citizens who felt neglected.
“They were rapidly losing faith in the system,” Mr. Trump told the business and political leaders who politely clapped for him as he took the stage.
Mr. Trump is making the rounds in Davos even as senators begin his impeachment trial back home. The president has derided the proceedings, which pivot on his interactions with Ukraine, as a “hoax” and insists he’s done nothing wrong.
He also says he’s done too good of a job to be removed from office.
Mr. Trump then rattled off a list of talking points he uses on the campaign trail, citing low unemployment for African Americans, people without college degrees and others. He also cited rising wages for millennials and the opening of thousands of new factories.
He boasted about the hefty slate of judges he’s nominated the bench and the government’s decision to grant 12 weeks of paid family leave to federal workers, saying it serves as a model for the private sector.
He said the best is yet to come, citing his trade deals and new investments in the U.S.
“I see such tremendous potential for the future. We have not even started,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr. Trump said the U.S. is working on new technologies, such as artificial intelligence and 5G cellular networks, and he credited his daughter, Ivanka Trump, for her efforts to promote American workers.
Notably missing from his address was a strategy to take on climate change, though he did say the U.S. has its cleanest air and water ever and will join an effort to plant 1 trillion trees. Sustainability is a key theme of this year’s forum in Davos.
Mr. Trump highlighted the domestic product of energy, saying it’s made the U.S. a major exporter of natural gas and kept prices down for American consumers.
“With U.S. companies and researchers leading the way, we are on the threshold of virtually unlimited reserves of energy,” Mr. Trump said, citing in part “clean coal.”
A group of Swiss tenors served as an opening act for Mr. Trump, singing a traditional carol from the 16th century.
Klaus Schwab, founder and president of the World Economic Forum, welcomed Mr. Trump by praising the U.S.’s economic performance, citing the stock market and low unemployment. He said there may be challenges for America and the world ahead, however.
“You recognize the need for America to maintain a prominent role on the global stage,” said
Later Tuesday, Mr. Trump will meet with a series of leaders, including Iraqi President Barham Salih and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Mr. Trump took an overnight flight on Air Force One to Zurich and then switched to Marine One helicopter for the ride to Davos featuring stunning alpine views.
The U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Edward T. McMullen Jr., and Davos Mayor Tarzisius Caviezel greeted him when he arrived in the resort town.
The words “ACT ON CLIMATE” were carved into the snow on a hill near the helicopter landing zone, though the president’s motorcade didn’t pass any protesters on the way to the hotel.
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