Trump heads to Davos as part of strategy to make impeachment a sideshow

Trump heads to Davos as part of strategy to make impeachment a sideshow

President Trump will attempt to shift focus from his impeachment trial by flying to Davos, where he will deliver a keynote speech and rub shoulders with world leaders at the World Economic Forum just as the Senate begins hearing opening arguments.

It is all part of strategy his aides believe is demonstrating that impeachment is not getting in the way of delivering on promises. Last week, Trump invited chief executives of some of America’s biggest companies to celebrate the passage of the first phase of a multibillion-dollar agreement with China; this week, he may sign the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal into law.

But first comes the annual gathering of the global elite in the Alpine ski resort of Davos, where business leaders mingle with other key players from the worlds of charity, politics, and academia. Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist, will attend, setting up the prospect of a clash with Trump’s record as a climate change skeptic.

The president left Washington on Monday evening to give a speech on Tuesday morning.

White House aides say the address will be a chance to hammer his reelection themes of successful trade deals, increased defense spending by NATO allies, and a surging stock market. Presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway suggested the gathering of economic titans offers a stark contrast with his Democratic opponents.

“He’s got a lot to talk about it, to really take on the perils of socialism right there in Davos,” she told reporters at the White House. “A lot of the world’s economy can exhale now that China and the U.S. have completed phase one of the trade deal,” she added.

It offers the chance of a split screen moment. On Tuesday, the Senate will resume its impeachment trial with a vote on the rules that will govern proceedings hours after Trump addresses the Davos audience. Later in the day, he is due to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, among others.

“Business as usual” is the message, whatever might be happening on Capitol Hill.

“The president has been working hard for this country while this impeachment charade has been dragged out by the Dems, and that will not change,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told the Washington Examiner. “While partisan politics plays out in the swamp, the president has successfully negotiated the phase one China deal and USMCA, and our country continues to enjoy record unemployment and a booming economy, all due to his leadership.”

Trump will be accompanied by senior officials and cabinet secretaries, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. This will be Trump’s second appearance at the forum. He withdrew last year because of a government shutdown.

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