Skip to navigationSkip to content
EPA/Gian Ehrenzeller
Have you high-fived a globalist today?
"YOU TELL ME"

Trump is irresistible to the global elite of Davos

By Heather Timmons & Johnny Simon

Davos, Switzerland

Something funny happened when Donald Trump arrived in Davos, Switzerland today. The globalists attending the World Economic Forum stopped in their tracks.

Davos attendees gathered three and four people deep around the balcony overlooking a wide staircase Trump was expected to ascend, cell phones held aloft. Some kneeled on a white leatherette bench, craning their heads over the side.

EPA/Gian Ehrenzeller
Marine One, carrying US president Donald Trump lands at the heliport during the 48th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Reuters/Carlos Barria
People react as a helicopter carrying US president Donald Trump lands in Davos on Jan. 25.

When Trump entered, the room fell silent except for the cameras clicking and the faintly ominous music of an overhead projection that’s been broadcast on one wall all week. The US president wore a long dark coat and his hair shone golden in the stage lighting overhead.

As he slowly ascended the stairs, people started to shout questions. “Are you going to be received well?” asked one, likely a reporter.

“You tell me,” the president replied.

Reuters/Denis Balibouse
US president Donald Trump gestures as he arrives for the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
EPA/Laurent Gillieron
US president Donald Trump waves after arriving at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

No one else at this year’s Davos conference drew such attention as they entered the venue; not German chancellor Angela Merkel, or French president Emmanuel Macron, or Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Does that mean that Trump has won over the Davos crowd? Nope—but boy are they paying attention, to his delight.

“That was worth it. That was such an inspiring moment,” sarcastically said one attendee, after Trump’s grand entrance. “Once in a lifetime,” another said, and laughed.

AP Photo/Michael Probst
US president Donald Trump waves after arriving at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
EPA/Laurent Gillieron
US president Donald Trump with with Klaus Schwab (right), Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

“I’m curious to hear what he’s going to say,” a woman from Belgium said, referring to Trump’s speech on Friday. “He’ll say America First and America Great.” The same attendee predicted that Trump’s reception might be cold, unlike that of French president Emmanuel Macron, who received a standing ovation.

It could be worse. Some attendees from Africa are talking about walking out during Trump’s speech to protest his derision of African countries as “shitholes.”

US president Donald Trump walks down stairs during the 48th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum.

Trump holds a dinner tonight with European CEOs. It’s aimed at convincing them to invest more in the US, after the administration’s massive tax cut for corporations. But saving money on US taxes just isn’t enough reason for that to happen, said the CEO of a retailer.

While he’s happy to attend Trump’s dinner, his most important political relationships in the US are with state governors and city mayors, he said.

With reporting by Jason Karaian and Eshe Nelson.