January 21, 2020 / 12:50 PM / in a month

Breakingviews - Donald Trump wins most insufferable title at Davos

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters Breakingviews) - It’s a high bar but Donald Trump has quickly snagged the title of most insufferable man at Davos.

The U.S. president is in an especially braggadocious mood as he mixes it up at the World Economic Forum. He signed a trade deal with China, stocks are soaring, and Iran’s top general is dead on his orders. Impeachment is a stain on his presidency, but globalist delegates already exasperated by his “America First” policies will be even more annoyed because Trump has real things to brag about.

Trump is just one of many big egos descending on the Swiss mountain resort. JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon, whose bank resoundingly beat fourth-quarter earnings estimates, is hosting several events. Salesforce.com boss Marc Benioff is preaching about woke capitalism.

But the president, with his penchant for hyperbole, outdoes them all. In an address to delegates on Tuesday, Trump declared that America was experiencing an economic boom “the likes of which the world had never seen before”. Last week Trump inked a pact with China, with an ambitious goal of having the People’s Republic buy $200 billion more in U.S. goods and services over two years. That helped stocks close at a new record high on Friday. The president went further at Davos saying total purchases could be closer to $300 billion.

The China agreement was agreed two weeks after Trump ordered a drone attack on Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif canceled his Davos trip. Last year, it was Trump who abruptly pulled out of the gathering amid a government shutdown, spurred by his fight with Democrats over a $6 billion border wall request.

This year, Trump’s fight with Congress is historic. The Senate kicks off his impeachment trial hours after his Davos remarks. It’s only the third time an American president has been charged with high crimes and misdemeanors.

Thousands of miles away, the commander in chief didn’t mention what he often calls a “hoax” during his speech. He used the moment to boast about the “roaring geyser of opportunity” in America and later, he will dine with corporate bosses. The tone was disconnected from the woke capitalism and sustainability theme at Davos. The audience barely clapped during Trump’s comments - but he gave himself enough applause to make up for it.

Breakingviews

Reuters Breakingviews is the world's leading source of agenda-setting financial insight. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time.


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