DAVOS, Switzerland — President Trump barreled into a global summit in the Swiss Alps on Thursday, threatening to stop U.S. aid to the Palestinians and dismissing as a “false rumor” the idea that there are tensions in the U.S. relationship with Britain.

Trump’s debut appearance at the glitzy World Economic Forum was hotly anticipated, with longtime attendees of the free-trade-focused event wondering how the “America First” president would fit in.

Crowds clustered around the U.S. president as he entered the modern conference hall, the president telling passers-by that he was bringing a message of “peace and prosperity.”

“When I decided to come to Davos, I didn’t think in terms of elitist or globalist, I thought in terms of lots of people that want to invest lots of money and they’re all coming back to the United States, they’re coming back to America,” the president told CNBC.

His meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally, was their first since the president announced earlier this month that he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy there.

The declaration delighted Netanyahu and outraged Palestinians, who declared a new U.S.-led peace push dead and refused to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his recent visit to the Mideast.

Trump took that as an affront.

“They disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them and we give them hundred of millions of dollars in aid and support,” Trump said.

“That money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace,” he said.

Netanyahu was effusive in his praise for Trump, saying the president’s recent announcement on Jerusalem was a “historic decision that will be forever etched in the hearts of our people.”

The Palestinians, in turn, said Trump’s “language of dictation is unacceptable,” in the words of spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh.

Past American presidents have expressed irritation with the Palestinian leadership but no previous administration has threatened to cut off assistance to the Palestinians unless they agreed to negotiate with Israel.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.