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Trump Speaks of Spectacular US Economy 01/21 06:05

   President Donald Trump sought Tuesday to sell the United States to the 
global business community, telling an economic conference in the Swiss Alps 
that America's economic turnaround has been "nothing short of spectacular."

   DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) -- President Donald Trump sought Tuesday to sell the 
United States to the global business community, telling an economic conference 
in the Swiss Alps that America's economic turnaround has been "nothing short of 
spectacular."

   Trump addressed the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, hours 
before his historic impeachment trial was to reconvene in the U.S. Senate in 
Washington. 

   Trump reminded the audience that when he spoke here two years ago, early in 
his presidency, "I told you that we had launched the great American comeback." 

   "Today I'm proud to declare the United States is in the midst of an economic 
boom, the likes of which the world has never seen before," the president said.

   Trump's participation in the annual gathering of political and business 
elites in the Alpine ski resort will provide a conspicuous split-screen moment 
in a presidency familiar with them. The two-day Swiss visit will test Trump's 
ability to balance his anger over being impeached with a desire to project 
leadership on the world stage. 

   Speculation had mounted that Trump would cancel the trip due to the Senate 
trial, but aides said he remains focused on producing results for the American 
people.

   Climate issues were to be a main theme at the forum and "Act on Climate" was 
written in the snow at the landing zone where Trump's Marine One helicopter set 
down in Davos. Trump, however, said he was attending the forum to encourage 
businesses to invest in the U.S. 

   "America is thriving. America is flourishing and yes, America is winning 
again like never before," Trump said before talking about a newly signed trade 
deal with China and a pending trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. 

   Trump also spoke of record low unemployment, stock market gains and millions 
removed from unemployment. 

   Trump planned to meet with world leaders and business executives after the 
speech.

   Swooping in for his second appearance at the conference, Trump was set to 
depart on Wednesday, jetting back to Washington, which is consumed by the 
impeachment trial.

   The Democratic-controlled House impeached the Republican president last 
month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after it was revealed that 
he had pressed Ukraine's president to announce investigations into former Vice 
President Joe Biden, a Democrat and a Trump political rival. Trump withheld 
foreign aid that Congress had approved for the Eastern European nation and 
dangled the prospect of an Oval Office meeting as leverage.

   Trump denies any wrongdoing and argues that Democrats want to remove him 
from office because they know they can't deny him reelection in November. Trump 
would be forced to leave office if convicted, but the Republican-controlled 
Senate is expected to acquit him.

   Trump said he would attend the Davos forum despite the awkward timing 
because he wants to encourage businesses to come back to the U.S. 

   "Our country is the hottest country anywhere in the world," he said at the 
White House last week. "There's nothing even close. I'll be meeting the biggest 
business leaders in the world, getting them to come here."

   The White House has not named any of the business leaders Trump is set to 
meet with. But he is scheduled to hold talks Tuesday and Wednesday with the 
leaders of Iraq, Pakistan, Switzerland and Iraq's self-governing Kurdish 
region, as well as the forum's founder, the White House said.

   Trump also will have his first meeting with the new European Commission 
president, Ursula von der Leyen, the first woman to hold the position. 

   That meeting could be the most significant, said analyst Matt Goodman, given 
Trump's many disagreements with Europe over tax and trade policy, like a new 
digital levy by the French that will force American tech giants such as Amazon 
and Google to pay up. 

   "She's new and she's formidable," said Goodman, who studies international 
economic policy as a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and 
International Studies in Washington. 

   He predicted a difficult year ahead for U.S.-EU relations. 

   Trump has smarted over the French tax, and his administration has announced 
plans to impose retaliatory tariffs of up to 100% on cheese, wine, lipstick and 
other French imports. France has threatened to fight back.

   But after speaking to Trump on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron 
tweeted that they had a "great discussion" about the digital tax and "will work 
together on a good agreement to avoid tariff escalation." Trump later retweeted 
Macron, adding the word: "Excellent!"

   The U.S. has also threatened to impose retaliatory duties on $7.5 billion 
worth of European airplanes, cheese, wine and other goods in a separate dispute 
over subsidies for Airbus, a competitor to Chicago-based Boeing Co. 

   Trump has sought to wring trade concessions from the EU by threatening 
tariffs on German autos, including BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

   Trump is just the third American president, after Andrew Johnson and Bill 
Clinton, to face a Senate impeachment trial. Johnson and Clinton were acquitted 
by the Senate. 

   There is precedent for international travel by an impeached U.S. leader. 
During his impeachment over an affair with a White House intern,  Clinton 
visited Japan, South Korea, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He traveled 
to Jordan for King Hussein's funeral in February 1999, just a few days before 
he was acquitted.

   Two days after acquittal, Clinton went to Mexico on a state visit.

   Trump is planning to make his first visit to India at the end of February, 
probably after the conclusion of his impeachment trial. He also has talked 
about traveling soon to Beijing, although he has given no dates, to open a new 
round of trade talks with China. 


(KR)

 
 
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