Trump to Focus on Economy at Davos, Seeking a Counter to Impeachment


DAVOS, Switzerland — Before the Senate impeachment trial begins in earnest on Tuesday, President Trump was more than 4,000 miles away from Washington, in this glitzy Alpine village, planning to drive a competing narrative — one that has nothing to do with pressure on Ukraine, abuse of power or obstruction of Congress.

In his first appearance on the international stage since Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent articles of impeachment to the Senate, before the senators who will decide his fate even arrive at the Capitol building, Mr. Trump was scheduled to address the World Economic Forum, focusing on the success of the global economy under his leadership.

Mr. Trump, aides said, planned to highlight the first phase of his trade deal with China and another with Mexico and Canada, accomplishments he thinks are being overshadowed by a focus on an impeachment trial he is trying to dismiss as a “hoax.” And the audience was expected to be friendly — to his face, at least — having warmed to him over the past two years because they have benefited from his policies.

“Lev Parnas is not a topic of conversation at Davos,” said Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group, a political research and consulting firm.

Mr. Parnas, an associate of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, has been on a nonstop media tour over the past week, asserting that Mr. Trump was fully aware of the pressure campaign to force Ukraine to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals. Democrats have not ruled out trying to call him as a witness.

The open question, as it is with all of Mr. Trump’s prewritten addresses, was how much he would stray from the prepared remarks and the escape of the world stage, and vent his grievances about his legal and political predicament at home. Also an unknown: whether he would try to stage a stunt and meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, who is also attending the international forum, even though officials said the optics of such a meeting would be unhelpful to Mr. Trump.

In Davos, however, Mr. Trump may find the right audience for support if he sticks with efforts to counter the impeachment narrative at home. There was less anxiety rippling through the one percent set about him on Tuesday than there had been when he first arrived at the annual forum two years ago, fresh off an “America First” campaign filled with promises to rip up international agreements and alliances.

This time, there’s more concern about some of the progressive Democrats running to replace him. Through regulatory rollbacks, tax cuts and the success of the global economy, the president who ran as a populist has benefited many of the chief executives gathered here, even those who have taken public positions against some of his policies.

“There are lot of masters of the universe who think he may not be their cup of tea, but he’s been a godsend,” Mr. Bremmer added. “It’s interesting to hear Mike Bloomberg saying he would fund Bernie Sanders’s campaign if he won the nomination. Very few people here would say that.”

Global warming and climate change top the agenda items for the conference. A star speaker on Tuesday, alongside Mr. Trump, is the 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has said she wouldn’t “waste her time” speaking to Mr. Trump about climate change.


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