he biggest surprise up in the Swiss Alps this week at the Davos World Economic Forum? Reporters who cover this annual global bacchanal of billionaires are marveling at the warm and friendly reception that has greeted Donald Trump. The world’s deepest pockets have wined and dined with the U.S. president, laughed at his quips, and profusely fed his ego.
“Africa,” the billionaire South African mining mogul Patrice Motsepe told the president, “loves you.”
And Trump loves the Davos deep pockets back, at one point hailing the big-time corporate CEOs gathered around him as “the greatest businessmen in the world.”
Quite a difference from Trump’s first Davos visit. In 2018, he encountered a distinctly uneasy assemblage of the excessively rich. Would this “America First” president set off an international trade war? Would he trash their elite status? Would he screw up the good thing they had going? The corporate execs and political heavyweights gathered at Davos two years ago didn’t quite know what to expect.
Today, two years later, that discomfort has disappeared. “Davos Man” likes what Donald Trump has delivered. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the Davos World Economic Forum, made all that clear when he took the stage with the president on the confab’s 50th opening day. Schwab lauded Trump “for injecting optimism” into the global political and economic discourse.
“We have many problems in the world,” pronounced the grand old man of Davos, “but we need dreams.”