President Trump will be more than 4,000 miles away when his impeachment trial starts Tuesday, using a speech in the Swiss Alps to defend his approach to trade and to take credit for an American “economic miracle” that’s worth emulating, administration officials said Monday.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Mr. Trump will highlight his efforts to cultivate natural gas and make the U.S. a major energy exporter when he addresses the World Economic Forum, a meeting of economic and political leaders, in Davos, Switzerland.
He’ll also urge leaders to “rebuff socialism” — evoking one of the central themes of his 2020 reelection bid — and meet with Iraqi President Barham Salih and other leaders.
“He has a great anti-socialist, pro-American economy message to deliver in Davos,” Mrs. Conway told Fox News. “Whatever nonsense they’re doing on Capitol Hill, they’ll do, and his team will keep him abreast of that.”
The sit-down with Mr. Salih comes as relations between the U.S. and Iraq hit a rough patch. Some in Iraq are pushing to oust the American troop presence there, saying their country is being hurt by escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif scrapped plans to attend the Davos meet-up after the forum “abruptly changed its agenda,” according to a foreign ministry spokesman.
Besides Mr. Salih, Mr. Trump will meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan; Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga; Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission; Nechirvan Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government; and Klaus Schwab, founder and president of the World Economic Forum.
The president headed to Davos late Monday as his legal team prepped for a clash with Democratic impeachment managers in the Senate.
The trial on whether to remove Mr. Trump over interactions with Ukraine will begin Tuesday, though the president will not return to Washington until late Wednesday.
Mr. Trump contended with a similar situation during his last major trip abroad. In December, Mr. Trump said the House’s decision to hold impeachment hearings while he attended North Atlantic Treaty Organization meetings in London was a bad look for the country.
Mr. Trump attended the Davos forum in 2018 but canceled the U.S. delegation’s trip to last year’s edition, citing the government shutdown that lasted 35 days.
This year’s forum, titled “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World,” will focus on the climate and how to do business in an environmentally friendly way.
“I am convinced that a more just and sustainable economic system is possible,” Ms. von der Leyen told delegates Monday. “For too long, humanity took away resources from the environment and in exchange, produced waste and pollution.”
Mr. Trump has rolled back environmental-protection rules and mocked progressives’ plans to tackle climate change, such as the Green New Deal, citing its price tag and potential changes to the economy or Americans’ lifestyles.
A White House official didn’t want to get ahead of the president’s address to Davos but, asked whether Mr. Trump would address climate, said the speech would focus on “a new economic approach that is centered around the American worker.”
Security will be high in the resort town this week, given the profile of attendees and the hundreds of climate protesters who plan to descend on the forum.
Greta Thunberg, a 17-year-old climate activist from Sweden who was named the 2019 Time Person of the Year, is also scheduled to appear.
Mr. Trump mocked Ms. Thunberg in mid-December, tweeting: “Greta must work on her anger management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
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