Davos 2019

Davos Daily Review: Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Mike Pompeo and Prince William

The 2019 World Economic Forum meeting began in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday with talks from newly elected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Prince William.

Bolsonaro, who has sometimes been referred to as the “Trump of the Tropics” for his right-wing populist rhetoric, laid out his plans to cut taxes, reduce bureaucracy and implement what he calls “family principles and true human rights.” In the past, Bolsonaro has promised to keep Brazil’s tough restrictions on abortion. He has also been criticized for anti-gay comments – though he did not mention those positions directly during his speech Tuesday.

Bolsonaro said that, taken together, his policies will help to build a “new Brazil.”

“I took office in Brazil amidst a deep ethical, moral and economic crisis,” Bolsonaro said. “We are committed to changing our history.”

President Donald Trump cancelled his plans to attend the meeting in Davos in response to the longest-ever partial government shutdown. As a result, the United States was instead represented by Pompeo.

Pompeo said that the Trump Administration is working to make the United States more business-friendly, saying that the United States’ economy has grown strong because Trump has unleashed the “animal spirits” of the market.

“The unleashing of animal spirits has allowed our economy to grow even as the global slowdown looms. This economic blueprint, streamlined regulations, trade reform, can work for you and your countries as well,” Pompeo said.

Later in the day came a question-and-answer session between Prince William and Sir David Attenborough of the U.K., who is famed for voicing nature specials, including Planet Earth.

Attenborough said that he thinks many people mistakenly believe that nature is irrelevant to business.

“We have never been more powerful. We can wreck it with ease,” Attenborough said. “We can wreck it without even noticing we’re doing it. And if we wreck the natural world, in the end, we wreck ourselves.”

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