Trump Assails Climate ‘Alarmists’ in Davos, Touts US Economy as ‘ Roaring Geyser of Opportunity’

January 21, 2020 by Dan McCue
This combination photo shows Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaking at the COP25 summit in Madrid, Spain on Dec. 11, 2019, left, and President Donald Trump speaking at a campaign rally in Battle Creek, Mich. on Dec. 18, 2019. When climate activist Greta Thunberg, also 16, was named Time magazine's 2019 person of the year, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to call her choice “ridiculous." (AP Photo/Paul White, left, and Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump used his speech on the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to ignore the “perennial prophets of doom” and to claim the U.S. economy has come “thundering back” under his watch.

“This is not a time for pessimism, this is a time for optimism,” the president said just hours before his impeachment trial was set to begin in the United States.

As for those who disagree with his administration’s climate policies, Trump said they were merely repeating “the errors of yesterday’s fortune tellers.”

“They want to see us do badly, but we won’t let that happen,” he added.

Defiantly touting his tax cuts and deregulation, Trump claimed that due to these policies the U.S. is “in the midst of an economic boom, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

While Trump’s remarks were clearly intended to play well among voters back home, they struck a discordant note at the forum, which this year — its 50th — has made combating climate change and promoting corporate sustainability a priority.

Trump was followed on the main stage at Davos by climate activist Greta Thunberg, who used the event to argue governments and business leaders are doing too little to avoid irreversible climate change. 

Mocking Trump’s assertion that Davos attendees should “reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of apocalypse,” Thunberg said, “Unlike you, my generation will not give up without a fight.”

“We are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else,” she said.

Berating the attendees themselves, Thunberg suggested that her warning at the last forum that “our house is on fire” had done little to inspire them to act.

Instead, she said, the response from Davos regulars — the global corporate elite — has been only “empty words and promises.”

Trump missed last year’s Forum due to the federal government shutdown, but in 2018 the annual event had served as his platform for launching a trade war with China that has since sent ripples through the world’s economy.

This year, the president celebrated his recent partial trade deal with China and the new USMCA agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Of China’s Xi Jinping, Trump said “He’s for China, I’m for the U.S. but other than that we love each other.”

He also called his recent trade deals “a new model of trade for the 21st century.”

But Trump couldn’t entirely escape the impeachment inquiry back home.

When a reporter asked about the trial as he left the stage at Davos’ Congress Centre, the president paused briefly to repeat his months-long defense that “it’s just a hoax.”

“It’s a witch hunt that’s been going on for years, and frankly, it’s disgraceful,” he added.

Asked whether Trump is planning to watch the impeachment trial from Davos, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “He has a full day here in Davos, but will be briefed by staff periodically.”

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