“Part of him will feel the resentment that has long smoldered within and part will revel in the fact that he’s the president and no one else is,” said Michael D’Antonio, a Trump biographer. “Considering his tendency to say or tweet whatever comes to mind, we might expect both Trumps — the testy one and the triumphant one — to appear. We may even see and hear him toggle between the two, uncertain if he’s superior or inferior.”
Mr. Trump’s decision to attend the World Economic Forum, something American presidents generally avoid lest they look out of touch hanging out with global elites, sets the stage for one of the most intriguing encounters of his year-old presidency. Not only will he finally crash the party that would not have him, but he will also bring his protectionist, “America First” message to the very people he has cast as the villains of his political narrative.
Indeed, Gary D. Cohn, Jared Kushner and much of President Trump’s cabinet mingled with tech executives late into the night during a Hawaii-themed party thrown by Salesforce. Mr. Cohn declined to comment, other than to say that the speech would be great for America and that “I wrote it.” PETER BAKER & REBECCA BLUMENSTEIN
A healthier Europe rejects protectionism.
President Emmanuel Macron of France sought to place his country at the center of a mission to revamp global capitalism while spreading its spoils more equitably, forging a mode of commerce centered on innovation, yet bearing protections for workers set back by change.
Mr. Macron’s hourlong speech before the annual gathering came on the same day that Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni of Italy issued their own forceful speeches toward advancing European integration, while defending the notion of international cooperation.
Collectively, they signaled that Europe — only a year ago dismissed as a crippled economic realm fraught with political recrimination — has regained force. Europe’s leaders left no doubt that they aim to channel their newfound economic strength toward advancing the project of European integration first launched in the middle of the last century, seen as an antidote to the brutalities of two world wars.
Mr. Trump was not in the room, but the shadow of his policies hung heavily. The three speeches resonated as a broad rebuttal of the doctrine that Mr. Trump has made his own. PETER S. GOODMAN
Trying to mend fences with one of America’s closest allies.
President Trump expressed regret for sharing anti-Muslim videos originally posted by an ultranationalist fringe group in Britain, saying that he did not know anything about the organization and did not intend to endorse racist views.
“If you are telling me they’re horrible people, horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologize, if you’d like me to do that,” Mr. Trump told Piers Morgan of the British broadcaster ITV in an interview scheduled to air on Sunday.
The rare expression of repentance — one of Mr. Trump’s rules is “never apologize” — came as the president sought to patch up a relationship with Britain badly strained by the episode. The three inflammatory videos he retweeted in November cast Muslims as violent attackers beating young people and were originally posted by Britain First, a far-right group rejected by mainstream parties.
Prime Minister Theresa May said at the time that it was “wrong” for Mr. Trump to promote the group’s videos, at least one of which mischaracterized the episode it purported to show, and the president this month canceled a planned trip to London amid expectations of widespread protests. Mr. Trump met on Thursday with Mrs. May on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, saying that reports of a rift were a “false rumor” and that he was talking about rescheduling the trip for later in the year.
In the interview, Mr. Morgan described Britain First as a group of racists. “Of course I didn’t know that,” Mr. Trump replied. “I know nothing about them and I know nothing about them today other than I read a little bit.” He added: “I am often the least racist person that anybody is going to meet.” PETER BAKER