The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is officially underway, and one topic is dominating all: President Trump. He leaves late Wednesday for the forum and will address his fellow world leaders on Friday, reports the Wall Street Journal. In doing so, he will be the first US president to make the trip in nearly 20 years. His decision to go was seen as a big surprise given that the forum emphasizes globalism, seemingly in direct opposition to Trump's "America First" philosophy. Details and developments:
- Macron's wooing: So why did Trump decide to go? Mike Allen of Axios reports that French President Emmanuel Macron gets much of the credit. He reminded Trump how many world leaders would be there, thus making it a great place for Trump to test his America First "bravado" on the "ultimate elitist stage." Mike Pence also encouraged the trip.
- Two theories: An analysis at Vox floats the theory that maybe Trump isn't the anti-globalist his reputation would suggest, now that Steve Bannon is gone. But former US trade rep Michael Froman sees things differently. "It's like going into the belly of the beast and laying out his alternative vision of the world," he says of Davos. "I wouldn't expect him to alter his message or pull his punches when it comes to America First."
- #MeToo: The forum is making a point to address sexual harassment, and Microsoft exec Peggy Johnson had an unexpectedly emotional moment while discussing her own experiences and that of her daughter in the workplace. The Washington Post has details of her speech, which was met by an ovation.
- Protesters: Hundreds marched in Zurich Tuesday carrying portraits of Trump and the message "not welcome," reports the Local.
- No first lady: Melania Trump won't be joining her husband on the trip, despite her original plans to do so. Her office cited "scheduling and logistical issues," per CNN.
- Message: Trump will meet with Britain's Theresa May and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday and host European business execs at dinner. He flies home after his keynote address Friday. "The president will continue to promote fair economic competition and will make it clear that there cannot be free and open trade if countries are not held accountable to the rules," said White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, per Reuters.
- Entourage: Trump is bringing a relatively big group with him, including several Cabinet members, and CNBC has the list. Treasury chief Steven Mnuchin is there ahead of Trump.
- Slippery footing: It's not a metaphor. The Swiss alpine town just got hammered by a fierce winter storm, and organizers were handing out plastic spikes that can be clipped to shoes—the better to avoid an embarrassing public fall, per CNN.
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