Attending the Davos World Economic Forum, a meeting of the most illustrious and insanely rich white men in the world (the 0.05 percent, if you will), Trump gave an “America first” speech that pundits say was mostly reminiscent of stuff he said before.
Trump read from the teleprompter. Trump read good. All the rich white men who feared he would veer off script were proud.
But there were a handful of off-the-cuff, unpredictable and eye-roll-inducing moments.
Here’s what jumped out:
1. Nobody walked out.
There was some stirring that attendees would walk out of Trump’s speech to protest his earlier comments referring to El Salvador, Haiti and African nations as “shithole” countries. However, Trump delivered his speech to a packed room, meaning at least one of the following is possible:
- Nobody walked out and these assholes were fronting.
- People walked out but no one noticed because so many more people wanted to gape at the big Cheeto man forming words.
- People walked out but no one noticed because most of the world’s elite are actually huge fans of Trump.
2. But they did boo.
Trump did draw boos during the question-and-answer portion when he disparaged (who else?) the press, whom he called “nasty, mean, vicious and fake.”
And because this is 2018, people interpreted the boos very differently. Some believe the boos were directed at Trump, but others interpreted the boos as being directed at the press. There was also some laughter and clapping at Trump’s comments, because this was a room of really awesome rich people.
3. No one asked about the one time last June he tried to fire the special investigator who just so happens to be investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
Lol. Where did you think we were, among people who care about democracy or whatever?
4. He said nada damn thing about the U.S. economy’s disappointing growth numbers.
The U.S. economy did grow last quarter, but slower than before, and certainly fell below Trump’s targets. The U.S. gross domestic product grew in the fourth quarter at 2.6 percent—below the Trump administration’s goal of 3 percent. Those numbers were released as Trump was bragging on his “America first” policies and business acumen.
When asked from the audience what experiences in his past helped him become president, Trump responded that it was his ability to make money.
(If by “make” you mean “inherit from your father,” then sure.)
He also took credit for stock market growth, claiming that if the Democrats had won, “The stock market wouldn’t be up 50 percent; it would be down close to 50 percent.”
The Dow is up 31 percent since Trump took office, and 44 percent if you include the postelection growth from November and December of 2016.
Let’s see if he takes credit when that number dips.
5. The historically low unemployment rate for black Americans and women is “heartwarming.”
During the Q&A, Trump cited recent numbers showing that unemployment among black Americans was at a historic low of 6.8 percent. He also mentioned that unemployment for women was at a 17-year low—figures the president called “very heartwarming to see.”
Not mentioned—that black unemployment is nearly double that of whites’, whose unemployment rate is at 3.7 percent.
The reason for that persistent unemployment gap? According to CNN Money, academics attribute it to “hiring discrimination, lower educational attainment, and a higher rate of people with criminal records, who are barred from many occupations.”
Not the sort of economic conversation that’s had at Davos.