Trump at the World Economic Forum

• President Trump broke with precedent by delivering a speech at the World Economic Forum on Friday. American presidents tend to avoid the jet-set gathering.

• Mr. Trump said earlier in Davos, Switzerland, that a New York Times report that he had ordered the firing of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, was “fake news.”

• The president voiced contrition for sharing videos from a British far-right group, as he tried to mend the United States’ relationship with Britain after a series of episodes ended in his cancellation of a trip to London. He made no apology for disparaging remarks he reportedly made about African countries.

President Trump addressed the World Economic Forum, the Alpine conclave of business and political elites that American presidents have usually shunned, seeking to reconcile his “America first” protectionist stance with a call for free trade.

The annual gathering in this ski resort attracts advocates of the kind of globalism and multinational structures that Mr. Trump has long belittled as detrimental to the United States.

Mr. Trump — never invited when he was a businessman — delivered the message that America is open for business, appealing for international investment, even as he demanded stringent enforcement of trade rules.

The room filled up more than 20 minutes before the president took the stage with Klaus Schwab, the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. Both stood silently while a brass band played before Mr. Schwab introduced Mr. Trump. —RICHARD PEREZ-PENA

Upon arrival at the Congress Center in Davos, President Trump was greeted by a scrum of the forum’s participants snapping cellphone photos and a large group of reporters asking why he had ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, as The New York Times reported.

“Fake news, folks,” Mr. Trump replied. “Fake news. A typical New York Times fake story.”

The Times reported, according to four people told of the matter, that Mr. Trump ordered the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, to fire Mr. Mueller, who is overseeing the Russia investigation. But Mr. McGahn refused and Mr. Trump backed down. On Thursday, Ty Cobb, who manages the White House relationship with Mr. Mueller’s office, declined to comment. —ELISABETH BUMILLER

While he is meeting with world leaders, President Trump is still partly focused on negotiations back home over immigration, asserting in an interview that he thought he could win over hard-liners in his party to a compromise deal he has proposed.

He mentioned, in particular, Senators Tom Cotton of Arkansas, David Perdue of Georgia and John Cornyn of Texas, and Representative Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia. “These are people that really have shifted a lot,” he told CNBC. “They’ve really shifted a lot and I think they’re willing to shift more, and so am I.”

“These are people that have very strong opinions on DACA and on immigration generally,” he said of the Republican politicians. “And I happen to think they’re largely right. Look, we’re going to try and make a deal on DACA. We have a good chance of making it.”

Mr. Trump has proposed legislation that would restore the Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, that protects younger immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children. His plans even go beyond that program by providing a path to citizenship for as many as 1.8 million people. In exchange, he has demanded that Democrats support up to $25 billion to build a wall along the Mexican border and other tough enforcement measures. —PETER BAKER

The president expressed regret for sharing anti-Muslim videos originally posted by an ultranationalist fringe group in Britain, but he made no apology on Friday for calling African nations “shithole countries,” or some variant of that phrase.

Mr. Trump said that when he retweeted the videos, which portrayed Muslims as violent attackers, he knew nothing about Britain First, the group that had originally posted them.

“If you are telling me they’re horrible people, horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologize, if you’d like me to do that,” Mr. Trump told Piers Morgan of the British broadcaster ITV, in an interview scheduled to air on Sunday.

“I am often the least racist person that anybody is going to meet,” he added.

The rare expression of repentance — one of Mr. Trump’s rules is “never apologize” — came as the president sought to patch up a badly strained relationship with Britain. Prime Minister Theresa May said at the time that it was “wrong” for Mr. Trump to promote the videos, at least one of which mischaracterized the episode it purported to show. The president canceled a planned trip to London amid expectations of widespread protests.

Mr. Trump and Mrs. May met on Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, saying that reports of a rift were a “false rumor” and that he was talking about rescheduling the trip.

But Mr. Trump’s contrition and efforts at fence-mending went only so far, as he ignored reporters’ questions on Friday about his derogatory remarks about African countries this month. During a meeting with lawmakers, the president had said he thought the United States should accept more immigrants from countries like Norway, rather than Haiti or “shithole countries” in Africa, according to multiple reports. Mr. Trump has disputed the reports and some have suggested that he actually said “shithouse countries.”

After the “shithole” remark was made public, Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda and chairman of the African Union, issued a statement demanding a retraction and “an apology to not only the Africans but to all people of African descent around the globe.”

Mr. Trump and Mr. Kagame met on Friday, shortly before Mr. Trump’s scheduled address to the World Economic Forum.

Mr. Kagame said that he had “good discussions” with Mr. Trump about the economy and trade, and he thanked Mr. Trump for his support. But the Rwandan leader made no mention of the furor over the comments. —PETER BAKER

• President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni of Italy issued forceful speeches toward advancing European integration, while defending the notion of international cooperation. Collectively, they signaled that Europe — only a year ago dismissed as a crippled economic realm fraught with political recrimination — has regained force. — PETER S. GOODMAN

• The header photograph on the Twitter page of President Alain Berset of Switzerland showed graffiti that said, in English, “Diversity is Power.” But Mr. Berset was quick to bat aside a question on Friday about whether the picture was a dig at Mr. Trump’s stance on immigration. Mr. Berset said that the photographs were chosen on Jan. 1, and that the header was intended to celebrate the diversity of Switzerland, including four languages. He had not thought, he said, “on the first of January this year that Mr. Trump would be present in Davos this year.” —KEITH BRADSHER

• For more on the intersection of business and policy at Davos, check out the DealBook Briefing.

Content originally published on https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/26/business/davos-world-economic-forum-trump.html by THE NEW YORK TIMES