President Trump’s presence, among other oddities, proved to make this year’s Davos talks an unusual one.
While large amounts of reporting around Davos this year had to do with its focus on free trade and globalism, as seen with the large amount of reporting surrounding Emmanuel Macron, many articles focused on the contradictions of this year’s talks.
Donald Trump, the odd populist out compared to globalists like Emmanuel Macron or Xi Jinping, tried to temper his nativism to mixed results to pander to the businessmen of Davos.
According to The Guardian, Donald Trump tried to pitch the United States as being open for business, a reasonable pitch considering the theme of this years Davos talks is Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.
This speech, while likely intended to be an olive branch to the globalist set of Davos, did not go over well.
Trump managed, unlike other speakers, to get booed while speaking. Politico collaborates that Donald Trump got booed during several portions of his speech.
Specifically, he got booed when he went after the media by stating “how nasty, how mean, how vicious and how fake the media are.”
Awkward moment before the speech when crowd groans after WEF Klaus Schwab tells Trump, "I'm aware that your strong leadership is open to misconceptions and interpretation so it is so essential for us in the room to listen directly to you." pic.twitter.com/xMFuiulDoJ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 26, 2018
This was not the only incident Trump and his team caused.
According to the Financial Times, Gary Cohen and H.R. McMaster managed to cut the line for a party being hosted last Thursday by Salesforce. This is exceptional considering everyone else had to wait thirty minutes in the snow to enter the party.
Parties like this are the norm at Davos, with Salesforce and other companies rent buildings in Davos for talks to parties, according to The Guardian.
— Matthew Prince (@eastdakota) January 25, 2018
But even beyond line cutting and booing, this year’s Davos reporting was strange for everyone involved. Even before the Davos talks began, Trump had Davos-related issues. According to Bloomberg, he had an outburst on the plane because the Mueller investigation en route to the summit.
Donald Trump was not the only one who caused controversy at Davos, even Xi Jinping managed to accidentally cause problems despite being the most successful world leader at Davos. According to Quartz, Chinese reports on Davos from state-run China Daily stated that Xi Jinping explicitly set the agenda for this years Davos talks. Quartz reached out to the mayor of Davos, verifying the claims that the Chinese papers made were false.
Other then that incident of fake news, the media thought Xi Jinping handled this years Davos talks successfully. According to The New York Times, Xi Jinping proved to be the winner at Davos– not Donald Trump–due to the scope of Xi’s efforts at Davos.
This is corroborated further that one of the most popular talks at Davos was given by Liu He, an adviser to Jinping and now vice premier of the economy and financial sector in China. Liu He’s talk was on China’s economy, specifically focusing on the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s economic and foreign policy goal of expanding Chinese influence via various infrastructure projects.
Overall, with the presence of Trump, this year’s Davos talks proved to be highly unusual. Even after Davos, analysis on last week’s events continue.
Opinion writer Zoe Williams in The Guardian writes how Trump’s presence proves the hypocrisy of the Davos set and the moral failings of Neoliberalism.
Contradicting this left-wing analysis of the Davos talks is the reporting that surrounded Macron. Macron, like Xi, championed the need for globalization, but as went after some of the biggest beneficiaries stating that they need to share the wealth.
This year’s Davos talks proved then to be one of the paradoxes, where the populist-in-chief had to kowtow to globalist norms at Davos, and where Xi Jinping got to display his credentials as the head globalist.