President Donald Trump addresses the World Economic Forum at the congress centre in Davos, on January 21, 2020.
Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images
DAVOS, Switzerland — Some attendees at the World Economic Forum (WEF) have described President Donald Trump‘s remarks on Tuesday as being a little too optimistic.
The U.S. president addressed politicians and business leaders at WEF on Tuesday morning, where he took credit for America’s “stunning turnaround.” In what was his second speech as U.S. leader at Davos, Trump outlined how his “America-first” approach had worked and advised other countries to follow suit.
However, some of the audience members looking on argued that Trump was actually talking to voters back home.
“He painted a very golden big picture (of the U.S.),” Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi, chairman of Banco Bradesco, told CNBC.
“What he came here to do was to speak to his electorate,” Cappi also said.
During his remarks, Trump mentioned how the United States is experiencing an “economic boom” and that the U.S. middle class is benefiting the most from it. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Monday it foresees a slight fall in growth for the U.S. economy. It expects GDP growth to reach 2.3% in 2019, 2% in 2020 and 1.7% in 2021.
“It was a very normal speech in substance, but it was much more disciplined and less emotional,” Kenneth Rogoff, professor at Harvard University, told CNBC about Trump’s address.
“Some of the facts he cited were important,” Rogoff said, “Some of the other facts he cited I don’t know (from) what planet they came from; in particular that his administration has adopted policies that has made it easier for women to get childcare.”
At his address, Trump said that his administration has made “extraordinary strides.”
“We are lifting up forgotten communities, creating exciting new opportunities, and helping every American find their path to the American Dream — the dream of a great job, a safe home, and a better life for their children,” Trump said.
Mario Moretti Polegato, president of the shoe retailer Geox, said the speech was “too optimistic” and urged U.S. officials to bridge some of their differences with the European Union.
The trade relationship between the EU and the U.S. has deteriorated since Trump was elected in 2016 and ended trade negotiations between both sides of the Atlantic. Trump imposed tariffs on European aluminum and steel, approved additional duties on Europe regarding airline subsidies and has threatened levies on European carmakers and on French goods.
Alberto Alemanno, professor of EU law at HEC Business School in Paris, described the president’s speech as an “endless, tedious and bombastic list of largely unsubstantiated claims that he hopes may secure him (a) second term.”
Rogoff from Harvard University also said that Trump has “been in campaign mode for three years.” “Is there any speech of his that’s not a pre-election speech?,” he wondered.
Nonetheless, other Davos participants interpreted the address as a strong message from the U.S. commander-in-chief.
“It was a speech of a country’s leader,” Vadym Novynskyi, a Ukrainian politician told CNBC. “This is actually what we lack in Ukraine … So our country would demonstrate great results like Mr. Trump has just demonstrated,” he said.