Senators finally reached a deal to re-open the government on Monday, meaning that the days of relative stalemate had come to an at least partial end and federal employees could all return to work.
Because support staff are now able to return to work, President Trump’s previously scheduled trip to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland this week is able to proceed without a hitch. CNN is now reporting, however, that the first lady, Melania Trump, will not be joining him on his trip, even though the administration had previously reported that she would.
East Wing communications director Stephanie Grisham cited “scheduling and logistical issues” as the reason for Melania backing out of accompanying her husband overseas. Grisham had previously told CNN that the first lady intended to attend the World Economic Forum “in a show of support for her husband, who intends to give remarks during his visit.”
President Trump, for his part, remains a controversial figure in contexts like the World Economic Forum, having long established himself as fiercely committed to his “America First” agenda through such means as slapping protectionist tariffs on foreign goods including, most recently, solar panels.
Vocally anti-Trump solar company NOW! SOLAR was among the interests to issue a statement criticizing the president’s decision, posting that they are “devastated to learn Trump has imposed a 30% tariff on solar panels virtually killing the solar industry.”
As the company noted, Solar Energy Industries Association President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper commented that the tariffs will “create a crisis in a part of our economy that has been thriving, which will ultimately cost tens of thousands of hard-working, blue-collar Americans their jobs.”
Stunningly, the SEIA states that the tariffs “effectively will cause the loss of roughly 23,000 American jobs this year, including many in manufacturing, and it will result in the delay or cancellation of billions of dollars in solar investment.”
The tariffs were imposed after a complaint was filed by the two foreign-owned solar companies Suniva and SolarWorld, and they’re just one step in an already long history of the president deciding to “go it alone” instead of cooperating with our allies and accepting that foreigners aren’t all out to get us. Trump’s protectionist, anti-globalization trade policies are the economic side to his racism, which holds that numerous foreigners pose some kind of existential threat to the U.S.
Other infamous instances of the president deciding to “go it alone” include his announcement of his intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, although it takes more than a belligerent announcement from the president to make that happen.
World Economic Forum President Borge Brende recently commented to CNBC that Trump would do well to remember that “you only succeed if others do well too.”
The clashing of Brende’s and Trump’s perspectives will no doubt mark the president’s time at the World Economic Forum this week. His past trips overseas have been marked by a similar clash, with him having long insisted — including while overseas — that the U.S. is doing too much on behalf of our allies and that others should do more.
Featured Image via SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images