The president of the Heritage Foundation confronted hosts at the World Economic Forum Thursday in Davos, Switzerland, challenging claims that the WEF is protecting democracy and calling so-called elites “part of the problem.”
Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts spoke out from Davos, where he had been invited to speak on a panel at the World Economic Forum. Roberts told reporters after his speech that he was somewhat shocked to have received an invitation to the annual meeting of world leaders and globalist figures, but said he cherished the opportunity to give voice to the “forgotten people” who are not collectively heard from or considered by those in attendance.
“The forgotten people aren’t just poor or working-class Americans of all ethnic backgrounds. There’s a lot of these forgotten people, as I’ve come to learn over the last few years [who are] small business owners; people who scraped and saved,” he said, adding that many aren’t often inherently political.
“They all believe the same thing, which is that the American Dream is slipping away from them.”
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At the WEF, Roberts spoke on a panel entitled “What to expect from a possible Republican administration,” and was joined by ex-Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, the Wall Street Journal’s Gerard Baker and Bard College Prof. Walter Russell Mead – and offered pointed countervailing views to the majority of Davos figures that at times appeared to ruffle the moderator.
The moderator, British international affairs expert Sir Robin Niblett, at one point asked Roberts about former President Trump’s promise of “retribution” if he regains office, and that the World Economic Forum’s purported defenses of liberal democracy could be “swept under the rug” by the mogul.
“It’s laughable that you or anyone would describe Davos as ‘protecting liberal democracy’,” Roberts said.
“It’s equally laughable to use the word ‘dictatorship’ at Davos and aim that at President Trump. In fact, I think that’s absurd.”
Roberts went on to tell the Davos forum the next conservative president will have a popular mandate to take on the power of the elites.
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“The thing that I want to drive home here, the very reason that I’m here at Davos, is to explain to many people in this room and who are watching, with all due respect, nothing personal, but that you’re part of the problem,” he told Niblett.
Roberts said elites in the vein of the WEF tell average people “the reality is ‘X’ – when in fact the reality is ‘Y’” on issues ranging from border security to climate change.
When Niblett asked what figures Roberts believed would be part of a second Trump administration, he replied the possible next president-elect would decide. However, Roberts went on to offer a pointed characterization of the type of person the “forgotten people” want to see in the bureaucracy:
“I’ll be candid here, because I think I’ve been invited here to be candid: The kind of person who will come into the next conservative administration is going to be governed by one principle, and that is destroying the grasp that political elites and unelected technocrats have over the average person,” he said.
“I will be candid and say that the agenda that every single member of the [next] administration needs to have is to compile a list of everything that’s ever been proposed at the World Economic Forum and object to all of them wholesale.”
Any official in the 47th presidential administration unwilling to reform the bureaucracy has no place in Washington, he said.
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In an appearance with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo prior to his WEF remarks, Roberts quipped how an “America First” message hasn’t seemed to resonate at the conference:
“Surprisingly it isn’t. And yet there are four or five of us who’ve been invited here out of a few thousand who actually understand that America First policies are right, not just for Americans, but for non-Americans as well,” he said on “Mornings with Maria.”
“[W]hen Americans are at their apex of freedom… the rest of the world really benefits.”
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