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Friday, January 26, 2018

21st century Coolidge

“The chief business of the American people is business.” -- Calvin Coolidge, 30th president on January 17, 1925.

And so it goes with President Trump's visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He did not go to build political alliances or ski. He went to drum up business.

Consider his guest list for dinner on Thursday night:
Kasper Rorsted, Adidas (Apparel) — Germany
Joe Kaeser, Siemens AG (Tech) — Germany
Heinrich Hiesinger, Thyssenkrupp AG (Industrials) — Germany
Eldar Saetre, Statoil ASA (Energy) — Norway
Mark Schneider, Nestle SA (Food and Beverage) — Switzerland
Vas Narasimhan, Novartis AG (Pharmaceutical) — Switzerland
Mark Tucker, HSBC (Financial Services) — UK
Patrick Pouyanne, Total SA (Energy) — France
Carlos Brito, Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (Food and Beverage) — Netherlands
Rajeev Suri, Nokia Corporation (Technology) — Finland
Punit Renjen, Deloitte (Consulting) — UK
Martin Lundstedt, AB Volvo (Auto) — Sweden
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG (Pharmaceutical) — Germany
Bill McDermott, SAP SE (Technology) — Germany
Ulrich Spiesshofer, ABB Ltd (Manufacturing) — Switzerland
Not one head of state was on that list of invitees.

Since he began his presidency on the day after his election, President Trump has pushed for business investment in the United States. Unlike every other winning candidate, Trump took no vacation. Instead, he met with business executives and others at his three-story penthouse at the Trump Tower.

He has held repeated business summits at the White House.

"When I decided to come to Davos, I didn't think in terms of elitist or globalist. I thought in terms of, 'Lots people that want to invest lots of money and they're all coming back to the United States — they're coming back to America.' And I thought of it much more in those terms," Trump told CNBC.

"After I said that I was going, there were massive stories about 'the elite' and 'the globalists' and the planes flying in and everything else. It's not about that. It's about coming to America, investing in money, creating jobs, companies coming in.

"We're setting records — every week, every day — we're setting records. You see what's going on: Apple now with $350 billion dollars — most people thought they meant $350 million, which would build a nice plant. But I spoke with Tim Cook and I was very honored by — you remember my campaign — I said I won't consider this great until Apple starts coming in and really investing big money, doing the plants. They're gonna do a lot."

Don't go by the press reports. People around the world get what President Trump means.

Consider what Oscar-nominated director Feras Fayyad told USA Today.

"He says things that many people are thinking, things that are hidden under our skins and that we are scared about — and in doing so he exposes moral questions," Fayyad said.

His nomination for the Oscar is his documentary, "Last Men in Aleppo," so I think we can dispense with the notion that Fayyad is naive.

The American press still does not understand the Trump presidency, which leads me back to the Coolidge quote I opened with. His remark was to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, an organization that once was as important as the Buggywhip Trust.

He was kinder to the press than Trump is because the press was kinder back then.

"There does not seem to be cause for alarm in the dual relationship of the press to the public, whereby it is on one side a purveyor of information and opinion and on the other side a purely business enterprise," Coolidge said.

"Rather, it is probable that a press which maintains an intimate touch with the business currents of the nation, is likely to be more reliable than it would be if it were a stranger to these influences.

"After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of the opinion that the great majority of people will always find these the moving impulses of our life."

Coolidge had an interesting Cabinet that included two men who later became chief justices of the Supreme Court, future president Herbert Hoover, and banker Andrew Mellon whose investment in Alcoa made aluminum cheap and plentiful, which made modern aviation possible.

Both Eisenhower and Reagan followed Coolidge's example of working with business (actually Harding got things started for Coolidge). Now Trump has taken that very same path.


Because it is successful.

Now as to why Trump does not ski. He took his first wife, Ivana, skiing. She had forgotten to tell him she was a champion skier in the Old Country. Suffice it to say, they never skied again.


Please enjoy my two books about the press and how it missed the rise of Donald Trump.

The first was "Trump the Press," which covered his nomination.

The second was "Trump the Establishment," which covered his election.

To order autographed copies, write

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As always, Make America Great Again.


  1. My favorite Coolidge quote: "...the greatest privilege that can be conferred upon people in the mass is to free them from the demoralizing influence of privilege enjoyed by the few."

    Trump gets this. True privilege can only be enforced by government. The politicians and journalists that hate him (and us even more so) are or desire to be in the business of exchanging privilege for power, just as the French absolutist kings did. People with the right instincts understand that this is immoral and demoralizing. It led to the worst and most destructive conflagrations in political history, and wise men try to avoid those things.

    1. Favorite Coolidge story: At a state dinner, an attractive young woman wound up sitting very close to Silent Cal. She told him that she'd made a bet with a friend that she could get him to say more than two words. He looked at her and replied, "You lose."

  2. As the "Goddess of Capitalism", Coolidge was my favorite President...until now.

    Best. President. Ever.

  3. That's a mighty impressive list of corporations. And now with our competitive 21 percent corporate tax rate, large (and largely skilled) labor pool, and low energy costs, many of these corporations will undoubtedly want to invest in the U.S. Bonus: No VAT! - Elric

  4. Maria Bartiromo had Philip Jennings -- the General Secretary of UNI Global Union, the global trade union for 20 million service workers around the world -- on her show just now and boy did she stand up to him and rip him a new one. Must see video (when it's posted)!

  5. Well said. How well he is doing in boosting the US while out of the country, something for which his predecessor neither knew nor cared a jot, can be seen in the chicken shit but feeble attack today by the Cowardly Scion of the NYT as he trys to shade Americans from the President's success in Schneeville. But is Trump who has his priorities straight. He more than most knows real freedom comes from economic self confidence and the willingness to take risk that feeling drives us to do. That means for most a job and success at it for a long time.
    His enemies want to nourish the doubt, the self doubt,that this is even possible today, then control the contracted soul such capitulation creates.
    He is offering this country,and even the Europeans to some extent, a choice: continuous gloomy dominance by selfish billionaire philosophers preaching the helpless pacific indolence of some Terminator AI to come, or the fine prospect of joining the genuflecting servitude of the masses,forever ignorant and dependent, like the aliens they have imported as allies of despair, or take the bright path out into the light of free, often unstable,self respecting risk taking capitalism, come Hell or high water. Which will they choose?

    1. The Euros will likely go with the Devil they know--socialism. Won't take a chance for a change.

    2. I agree Sam. I go every year to France and the UK and I see. They are doomed. But we are not under the lava flow yet.

  6. First, the American press (the Enemedia) does not WANT to understand the Trump presidency, because the Democrats don't want them to.

  7. Shameless of me, I know, but my son's wife gave birth to my first grandchild this morning at 5:16 AM, a 2 lb 3 oz preemie, Claire Elizabeth! Please pray that she makes it through this early touch and go time. There will be another baby boom in this country, and it will be called Generation T.

    1. Our granddaughter was born at 2 1/2 lbs, fortunately with one of the best Neonatal Intensive Care facilities. She is now four years old and a perfectly healthy and happy child. We wish you the same best of luck; ICN nurses are amazing people.

    2. God bless both of you and your grandchildren. As trying as your struggles may be, you are blessed as well.

    3. Thanks Greg and Big D. Son texted an hour ago and said the ICNU nurse said Claire could by breathing on her own by COB today. That seems almost impossible to me, but who am I to argue?

      What a day. Thanks again.

    4. My first grandchild was a premie born in August. She and our daughter are doing great. Keeping all in our prayers. Hospitals work miracles.

    5. May their lives be healthy and long!

  8. Thank you thank you for giving a little credit to a great man whose greatness is unknown to the vast population, President Warren Harding. He halted the Fascist wave of the Woodrow Wilson administration, and put us on a decade-long course of peace and prosperity (which ended when the Republicans put an unadulterated liberal in the White House, Herbert Hoover.) Coolidge built upon the foundation laid in the Harding years.

  9. Trump skis like 007, only with a Stars-and-Stripes parachute at the finale.