Trump heads to Davos
In March every year, a swarm of ungainly turkey vultures flaps back to the quaint Ohio town of Hinckley Ridge, just south of Cleveland. The village celebrates the natural phenomenon as “Hinckley Ridge Buzzards Day” and welcomes multitudes of tourists.
As the visitor websites explain, the turkey buzzards were first drawn by “the tons of butchering refuse and unwanted game left behind in the great Hinckley Hunt of 1818.” No mention of the tons of guano the birds must leave behind.
Weeks earlier, another flock descends every year on the tiny Alpine town of Davos, Switzerland.
The old buzzards who fly into Davos, many in private Gulfstream jets, regard their destination as a peak event in their lives and work. Not just because Davos, at 5,000 feet above sea level, is technically the highest village in Europe. Davos also is shorthand for the World Economic Forum, the annual confab of the planet’s top political, policy and business leaders and assorted others.
Davos is where the who of the who’s who, best and brightest, big thinkers, titans of titans and captains of the known and unknown universe go to bloviate, offer timeless, trenchant insights, and share penetrating glimpses into the obvious that some liken to so much guano.
This year, Davos (Jan. 23–26) will be different. President Trump is descending into globalism’s belly of the beast to talk about America First.
Trump will be the first U.S. president to attend since Bill Clinton did in 2000, and likely the first ever to participate having trashed everything Davos stands for.
Breitbart once called Davos a “collective” of “key leftist politicians, intellectuals, journalists, and a slew of multinational corporate cronies to discuss shaping global, regional and industrial agendas to best to divide the economic spoils.”
Davos, it goes without saying, is antithetical to folks cheering Trump’s America First agenda.
So give Trump credit. It takes chutzpah to walk into a crowd you claim to hate — and includes many who hate you back — slam everything they stand for, and lecture them with a triumphant tone on what’s what.
Imagine Bernie Sanders jetting to the lavish St. Regis Monarch Beach resort in California to be the after-dinner speaker at a Goldman Sachs senior executive retreat, kvetching about Wall Street corporate greed. And then the next morning donning the requisite yellow slacks to golf with a foursome including Steve Mnuchin.
But maybe the Davorati need to hear directly from Trump about his America First stuff. Like:
· Stop sending America your tired, poor, huddled masses, wretched refuse, homeless tempest-tost, yadda yadda yadda, especially from s***hole countries where the people just so happen to be not white. And by the way, that poem was added way after the French gave us the Statue of Liberty, so it means nothing.
· Stop sheltering our hard-earned corporate cash with your lower global tax rates — we’re bringing the dough back to America to help the tired, poor and wretched 1% lift their lives into the 0.01%.
· Stop making the U.S. pay so much for global and regional peace, stability and security and the influence that helps our nation remain the world’s richest country with over 40% of the planet’s wealth. Make China (#2 with 10% of the wealth) pay more!
· Stop making and selling us awesome stuff that’s cheaper and better than what we produce in America. Start signing trade deals that are good for us and bad for you!
· Stop cooperating with the Mueller witch hunt, in particular helping him track down how laundered Russian Putin/oligarch/mob money might have financed my real estate deals, bought my election, trolled Facebook, compromised members of my family, and may well own me. (Hear me, Deutsche Bank?)
· Stop busting America about the Paris climate accord — unfair! — and global warming — fake news! It snowed in Florida last week and the frost is killing the greens at Mar-a-Lago. We could use a little more warming.
· Stop being so self-righteous, world leaders. You know you’d love to be me and do what I do. Attack the free press. Incite mobs to call for jailing your political opponents. Claim undue credit for the economy. Cut help for the poor to reward your wealthy friends with tax breaks. Fuel ethnic and class resentment to appease your political base — who you once called dumb saps — and secure your power. Count on your official state news agency (I have Fox) and shameless, poker-faced shills (I have Sanders) to help you feed and fool your base. Express whatever insults or invective pops into your head at 3 a.m. Nobody will come right out and say it, but autocracy has its privileges. (Am I right, my colleagues from Iran, Belarus, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, China, Cuba, Ethiopia, Bahrain ….?)
I don’t mean to offend any Trump supporters here. Please forgive.
Trump has many important messages for the world about America, and Davos is a good place to deliver them.
So I look forward to hearing about Trump at the World Economic Forum. Especially given this year’s theme, “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World,” which “will make a case for renewed commitment to international collaboration as a way of solving critical global challenges,” the Forum says.
International collaboration doesn’t seem to be where Trump is coming from. But it’s always fun to watch someone spit into the wind.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer