Trump's Davos speech instantly shot down by leading economist: 'The characterisation of the economy is totally wrong'

Conrad Duncan

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has given a withering assessment of Donald Trump’s speech at the World Economic Forum and said the president has misrepresented the economy and failed to address the problem of climate change.

In his speech to political and business leaders at Davos 2020, Mr Trump lauded a list of supposed achievements by his administration since taking office three years ago.

However, Mr Stiglitz immediately rejected the speech and argued that “the characterisation of the economy is totally wrong”.

“He managed to say absolutely zero on climate change,” the economist said, voicing frustration at the president’s failure to tackle climate issues beyond a commitment to join an initiative to plant a trillion trees worldwide.

“Meanwhile, we’re going to roast.”

Mr Stiglitz ​also reportedly handed out a sheet of statistics in the auditorium where the president was speaking which challenged Mr Trump’s claims about the economy.

Donald Trump addresses the World Economic Forum at the congress centre in Davos: AFP via Getty Images

The president's speech this year was met with almost total silence from the crowd, unlike his speech in 2019, when he was met with occasional boos and laughter.

Climate change is a focal point of this year's meeting in Davos for political and business leaders.

Kenneth Rogoff, a prominent American economist, has suggested Mr Trump avoided talking about climate change because it was an unpopular topic for his administration.

“He would have been booed if he said anything much about this [climate change] and I think he was being very careful not to get booed,” Mr Rogoff said.

However, the academic added that he believes some of the president’s statements about the strength of the economy were true.

“What's true is that the US economy has done well,” he said.

“It wasn't doing badly when he came in, that's not true, but I think it's done better than most of this group [the World Economic Forum] would have expected.”


Mr Trump’s speech came as climate activist Greta Thunberg told leaders they were not doing enough to tackle the climate emergency.

“We need to start listening to the science, and treat this crisis with the importance it deserves,” she said.

In reference to the president’s announcement that the US would join the “one trillion trees” initiative to help capture carbon dioxide from Earth's atmosphere, Greta added that planting trees was “nowhere near enough” to tackle the crisis.

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Greta Thunberg and Trump exchange glares and veiled barbs at Davos