Last Thursday, a reporter asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to explain President Trump’s decision to attend the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“What is the point of the Trump administration going to a place that is regarded, usually, as a hangout for globalists?” the journalist asked.
Mnuchin seemed surprised by the question. “I don’t think it’s a hangout for globalists,” he said.
In an article about the exchange, conservative news site Breitbart reported that Mnuchin refuted the reporter’s claim. The piece described Davos simply: as a gathering of the “world’s most elite.”
But not too long ago, Breitbart was calling the forum, which will take place next week, a hangout for globalists. And worse.
One article, from 2016, called the meeting’s attendees “a collective of leftist elites and their corporate cronies.” It went on to explain that the three-day annual event in Switzerland “brings together 2,500 key leftist politicians, intellectuals, journalists, and a slew of multinational corporate cronies to discuss shaping global, regional, and industrial agendas to best to divide the economic spoils.”
“Although Davos’ published goal is ‘improving the state of the world,’ those are often code words for elites crafting world governance,” the piece explained.
Another suggested that one key takeaway of the conference is that “globalization is of benefit to business, and therefore to citizens through increased revenue.”
An article from 2015 said former Republican House majority leader Eric Cantor’s decision to attend Davos (a “conference for the 1 percent”) led to his downfall in a 2014 primary. “For those who question whether the Davos conference actually accomplishes anything,” Dan Riehl wrote, “you might want to ask the once-powerful Republican Cantor. His jaunt to Davos, more than anything, helped solidify the image of an out-of-touch, above-it-all establishment Republican people are tired of supporting.”
In the wake of Trump’s election, one writer accused Davos attendees of being spectacularly out of touch. “At last year’s Davos, the elites were certain the people of the world would never vote for things like Brexit or Trump or the Italian referendum. In other words, all was well,” the piece said. “This year, though, it’s a much gloomier affair in Davos. These world elites have found out, thanks to voters worldwide, they’re no longer the center of the universe. Financial elites are losing control on the world markets while political elites are losing control of international governments and cultural elites are seeing their star power fade.”
One headline from the site claimed that the Clinton Global Initiative was “hatched on private plane to Davos.”
Given all this, you might expect the website to take a critical jab or two at Trump for his decision to attend. Instead, Breitbart has framed the president’s decision as an opportunity to take on globalists on their home turf. In a first news story, Breitbart quoted White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as explaining that Trump “would defend his agenda while participating in the forum of global elites.”
Another outlined the president’s plans to bring a massive “cheering squad” to the economic forum to highlight the American “economic success story in the first year of [Trump’s] administration.”
The outlet quoted Mnuchin explaining his decision: “think the idea is the economic team is going to go over and talk about the America First economic strategy. We’re thrilled that the President is coming. And I think what we know is that the economy that’s good for the U.S. is good for the rest of the world.”