US Republicans in Switzerland: America first does not mean America alone
GENEVA, Switzerland – Union leaders and anti-globalisation demonstrators are calling residents in five Swiss cities to protest the presence of US President Donald Trump at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, and the Forum in general.
Swiss authorities have barred protests in Davos but demonstrators are calling to action on 23 January in other Swiss cities including Geneva, Fribourg, Lausanne, Neuchatel and Zurich. (see full flyer here.)
These massive anti-WEF protests had not been seen since the early 2000s.
Just two years ago, the Berne Declaration (now known as Public Eye), said it would stop picketing at Davos and holding its Public Eye Award (shedding a critical light on business practices), as it considered WEF an irrelevant economic platform “losing legitimacy”.
Donald Trump’s presence however, seems to have rekindled anti-WEF sentiments.
The Swiss Government announced that in addition to a no-fly zone, it had allocated an additional 5,000 officers to guard Davos.
The US president, one of about 70 heads of state or government in Davos this year, is expected to close the meeting.
While in Davos, Trump is expected to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Swiss President Alain Berset among others. Mostly, he is expected to promote that “America is open for business.”
In interview with Swissinfo, Republicans Overseas Switzerland Director James Foley said “Trump’s unique political position and view on the world will allow him to effectively promote the US agenda at WEF.”
“In general, Trump is going to Davos to remind the globalist attendees (let’s face it, Davos is a big globalist gathering) that America First is good policy and, despite what globalists may think of this policy, it’s good for business.”
Recently appointed US Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Edward T. McMullen shared the same view with Geneva-based newspaper Le Temps just a few days ago — albeit not without also slightly attacking the media for misunderstanding Trump’s policy:
“This is a unique opportunity to explain that the concept of ‘America first’ does not mean America alone. To showcase the opportunities that this policy can offer to European and international partners. His strategy was misunderstood. It will be good for the international media, the economic community, the political world, academics, to hear it directly, without a media filter.”