'America First' a Slippery Sale in Davos

President Donald Trump, who prides himself on his salesmanship, may face his toughest sales job yet this week as he travels to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to pitch the benefits of an “America First” policy.

The stated mission of the World Economic Forum is to improve the state of the world.

“The forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance,” according to its mission statement.



The president’s advisers have long struggled to explain America First to the globe, and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn reiterated his defense in previewing the president’s trip to Davos.

“America First is not America alone,” Cohn told reporters at the White House Tuesday.

The president believes there can be truly win-win agreements, Cohn said. When the U.S. grows, the world grows, and when the world grows, the U.S. grows, he said.

The president is proud of the accomplishments he’s created in his first year: GDP growth, low unemployment, a booming stock market, and regulatory and tax reform, Cohn said.

Yet, while the president will be seeking more global investment in the U.S., Cohn gave no indication of what the U.S. is prepared to do to help the world grow.

“The president is going to Davos to speak to world leaders about investing in the U.S., moving businesses to the U.S., hiring American workers, changing the direction of our economy to be one of the biggest and best and most efficient economies in the world,” Cohn said.

The president is firmly committed to being the best salesperson the U.S. has to drive economic growth, prosperity, and quality of life for American citizens, Cohn said.

Less certain is whether the global leaders gathered at the exclusive Alpine resort will be buying what the U.S. president is selling.

Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive who has previously attended the elite gathering, was asked what the president should expect as a first-timer. 

“A lot of snow, 14-feet of snow,” Cohn responded, in perhaps an unintentional metaphor.