News Wrap: ‘America is open for business,’ says Trump at Davos

News Wrap: ‘America is open for business,’ says Trump at Davos


JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump responded today
to word that he demanded Robert Mueller’s ouster last June as special counsel in the
Russia probe by saying it is all fake news. The New York Times initially, and now other
news organizations, report that the president backed off when his White House lawyer threatened
to quit. We will have a full report after the news
summary. The president talked about the Mueller matter
in Davos, Switzerland, where he spoke to the World Economic Forum, a gathering of mainly
corporate and political leaders. He used the occasion to declare the United
States as open for business. Special correspondent Ryan Chilcote reports
from Davos. RYAN CHILCOTE: The fanfare of a Swiss marching
band heralded the president’s address to the global leaders and his sales pitch for America. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
There has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest, and to grow in the United
States. America is open for business, and we are competitive
once again. RYAN CHILCOTE: Mr. Trump touted his tax cuts
and regulatory overhaul. DONALD TRUMP: We are freeing our businesses
and workers so they can thrive and flourish as never before. RYAN CHILCOTE: The president also sought to
reassure his audience that his America first agenda is not bad for the rest of the world. But he said free trade must be fair. DONALD TRUMP: The United States will no longer
turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices, including massive intellectual property theft,
industrial subsidies and pervasive state-led economic planning. RYAN CHILCOTE: The remarks appeared to encourage
many business leaders at the forum. MAN: He well represented the American policies
that he has put into place. RYAN CHILCOTE: Others pushed back on President
Trump’s claims of economic achievements. WOMAN: Stocks hitting records means more wealth
for the few at the top, but makes no difference at all for people at the bottom. RYAN CHILCOTE: There were also boos and hisses
when the president branded the news media nasty, mean, and vicious. The hall was so packed, I shared my chair
with a Nobel-prize winning economist. A Japanese politician sat beside him. Both my neighbors were dumbstruck by the spectacular
start to the event, even though they got little of the provocative Trump. The president was restrained, on message,
and stuck to the teleprompter. Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump met with Rwanda’s
president, the incoming head of the African Union, Paul Kagame. That meeting followed reports that Mr. Trump
had made vulgar remarks about African nations. Kagame said he looks forward to working together,
and Mr. Trump, in turn, called him a friend. DONALD TRUMP: As I say often, I am the least
racist person that anybody is going to meet. RYAN CHILCOTE: On another issue, the president
told Britain’s ITN that he had not known anything about the far-right group Britain First before
he retweeted an anti-Muslim video from its leader last November. DONALD TRUMP: If you’re telling me they’re
horrible people, horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologize, if you would
like me to do that. RYAN CHILCOTE: After his address, the president
departed for Washington. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Ryan Chilcote
in Davos. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: As
President Trump plugged the U.S. economy at Davos, Wall Street turned in another record
session, due mainly to strong corporate earnings and a weaker U.S. dollar. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly
224 points to close above 26616. The Nasdaq rose 94 points, and the S&P 500
added 33. All three were the highest they have ever
been. The president’s immigration proposal drew
fire today, from the left and the right. It offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million
young immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Some far-right groups warned of betrayal,
but in an interview Thursday, Mr. Trump said he thinks immigration foes in Congress will
come around. DONALD TRUMP: Well, these are people that
really have shifted a lot. They have really shifted a lot. And I think they’re willing to shift more,
and so am I. Look, we’re going to try and make a deal on
DACA. We have a good chance of making it. JUDY WOODRUFF: Part of the deal would cut
down on legal immigration and include $25 billion for border security. Those provisions have Democrats outraged. In a tweet today, Senate Minority Leader Chuck
Schumer called it — quote — “the wish list that anti-immigration hard-liners have advocated
for years.” The president shot back that Schumer is unable
to act on immigration because he took a political beating in the government shutdown. Casino mogul Steve Wynn denied today that
he has sexually harassed or assaulted multiple women. The Wall Street Journal detailed the allegations
against Wynn, who is finance chair for the Republican National Committee. Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that
an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid was accused of repeatedly harassing a
young staffer. Burns Strider was kept on staff, but ordered
to get counseling. There is more fallout from Michigan State
University’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against Larry Nassar. The former sports doctor was sentenced this
week to up to 175 years in prison for molesting scores of young women and girls. Today, Michigan State’s athletic director,
Mark Hollis, announced he is retiring. MARK HOLLIS, Michigan State Athletic Director:
As a campus community, we must do everything we can to ensure that this never happens again,
to make sure that any sexual assault never occurs. But to do so, we must listen and learn lessons. Only then can we truly begin the process of
healing. JUDY WOODRUFF: Michigan State University’s
president announced her resignation earlier this week. Nassar also worked for USA Gymnastics, and
the U.S. Olympic committee demanded yesterday that the group’s entire board resign. Today, USA Gymnastics said that it will comply. In South Korea, at least 37 people died today
when a fire tore through a small hospital that had no sprinkler system. More than 140 people were injured. Firefighters rushed in as smoke billowed out
of the six-story building southeast of Seoul. Officials said the fire started in the emergency
room, but the cause wasn’t clear. Thousands celebrated and protested in Australia
today. They marked the day that the first British
ship carrying convict colonists landed in 1788. In Sydney, boats bustled in the harbor as
thousands lined the boardwalk to celebrate. But in Melbourne, more than 25,000 people
rallied against white colonization and what it did to aboriginal people. In economic news, Boeing lost a big trade
case against the Canadian rival Bombardier. The U.S. International Trade Commission rejected
claims that Bombardier sold passenger jets to Delta Air Lines at artificially low prices. That blocks the Trump administration from
imposing nearly 300 percent tariffs. And in France, they are fighting to get their
hands on Nutella spread literally. Frenzied buyers pushed and shoved to grab
the chocolate hazelnut paste. On Thursday, a grocery chain had slashed the
price 75 percent for a promotion. I guess they really like it.

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