Anthony Scaramucci was once known as the party boy of Davos, hosting a shindig at the hotel piano bar that is the center of social life during the week that the small Alpine village turns into a gathering of the global elite.
This year, the asset manager turned Trump adviser came to the World Economic Forum, as one participant put it, as an "ambassador and future interpreter."
The global — and, at least here, mostly European — elite are freaking out over what a Trump presidency will mean. They don't understand Trump's words, they don't understand his style, they don't understand how he can say things like NATO is "obsolete" and challenge German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as he did in an explosive interview with Germany's Bild and the London Times earlier this week.
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Those gathered at Davos represent the epitome of what Donald Trump ran against — men (and a few women) in fine suits cloistered away in the Swiss Alps discussing their prescriptions for making the world a better place, while ensuring the average Joe remains far from the checkpoints that line the roads to the village center. The disdain runs both ways. At least one participant described Trump as "vulgar."
But they still need to know what he means and fast: Upcoming elections in Germany and France are already fraught with concerns that they'll prove to be a repeat of the US race, with a person attendees of the WEF view as a populist demagogue winning power through a combination of bluster, insular policies, and a little boost from Russia.
That's where Scaramucci steps in — someone who has been to their soirees and understands their wit and dark humor. Someone who makes easy reference to European history in conversation and throws book recommendations (you should apparently read historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's The Bully Pulpit) in with remarks on governance. Someone who uses relatively sophisticated vocabulary to say essentially the same thing as Trump: The world is about to change dramatically and there is nothing you can do about it.
"You probably like hearing it the way I'm explaining it because it sounds more sensible," Scaramucci told a small briefing of journalists after a 30-minute session to a wider Davos crowd. "My job is to get you to see him and think about him the way we do — meaning his staff, his family members, his sons, who I have a great relationship with, his daughter."
"We're used to very controlled statements coming from the bully pulpit of the American presidency or the German Chancellery," he said. "He's so different than the other 999 politicians; that's probably why he ascended to the American presidency. A very large group of American people want change."
Speaking earlier to a packed room in a public session titled "Outlook for the United States," Scaramucci said, "You guys get a little upset about the tweeting or some of the things he's saying, but I want to say, directionally, he's a compassionate man, he loves his children, he loves people." Then he quoted Winston Churchill: "The best among us choose not to judge human frailty so strongly."
When it came down to explaining Trump's ideas, the language was more anodyne but the subject matter equally sanguine. Scaramucci, whose talk came after Davos's star speaker, President Xi Jinping of China, used his platform to warn against protectionism and champion free trade, came out swinging: "We call these trade agreements free, but what they really are is free asymmetrically," he said. "I respect China, I certainly respect the president of China and we want to have a phenomenal relationship with the Chinese."