DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Call it Davos, military-style: When the World Economic Forum found out that U.S. President Donald Trump would come this year, they wanted to do something special.
So forum founder Klaus Schwab called in a Swiss marching band dating back to the Napoleonic era 214 years ago to serve up a fanfare-like welcome before his speech.
The rare, if not unprecedented, performance by the “Landwehr of Fribourg” band at the Davos gathering of academics, executives, officials and other elites drew a puzzled if not hostile reception from some in the capacity crowd of around 1,500 on hand for Trump’s highly anticipated address to the WEF on Friday.
Wearing feather-tipped hats and long-tailed jackets as part of their red-and-blue uniforms, the 37-member ensemble belted out “The Coburger March” by Michael Hadyn, as Trump stood calmly for the 3-1/2 minute rendition.
Alain Deschenaux, the Landwehr’s president, said by phone that Schwab’s wife, Hilde, contacted him on Jan. 15 after the WEF founder decided he “wanted to do something extraordinary for President Trump.”
Some weren’t big fans, though — like Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, a Davos regular and frequent Trump critic.
“Almost anybody who has been coming to Davos as long as I have couldn’t help but notice,” he said. “I’ve seen presidents, prime ministers: Never before have I seen the kind of military band that we had today.”
“You saw him (Trump) preen as the band was there,” Stiglitz added. “It was totally inappropriate for this setting. And so, it sort of gives a flavor of an imperial presidency, which is doing well for the one-tenth of one-percent, but not for the vast majority of Americans.”