Officials in a future Republican presidential administration in the U.S. must reject a left-leaning global agenda, Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts told a crowd Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 

“I will be candid and say the agenda that every single member of the administration needs to have is to compile a list of everything that has ever been proposed at the World Economic Forum and object to all of them wholesale,” Roberts said, speaking as a leader of America’s conservative movement. 

“Anyone not prepared to do that and take away this power of the unelected bureaucrats and give it back to the American people is unprepared to be part of the next conservative administration,” the president of the leading U.S. think tank said. (The Daily Signal is The Heritage Foundation’s news outlet.)

Roberts, who heads a think tank headquartered on Capitol Hill, was just as candid at several points at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos while participating in a panel discussion titled “What can we expect from a possible Republican administration in 2025 in terms of continuation or deviation from this course?” 

The World Economic Forum is an international organization that typically includes politicians and corporate leaders who promote specific global issues. 

Joining Roberts on the panel were Walter Russell Mead, a distinguished fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Hudson Institute; former Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, now chairman of the Portman Center for Policy Solutions, University of Cincinnati; Wall Street Journal Editor at Large Gerard Baker; and Allison Schrager, senior fellow at the New York-based Manhattan Institute. The moderator was Robin Niblett, a distinguished fellow at Chatham House, a British-based international affairs think tank.

Baker was the first panelist to raise the prospect that if former President Donald Trump is elected to another term in the November election, he would become a dictator.

The Wall Street Journal editor called it a “legitimate” concern, saying America’s constitutional republic would be “tested” but said the Constitution’s separation of powers would prevent a dictatorship from occurring. 

President Joe Biden and his campaign, as well as many other Democrats, have said that Trump desires to become a dictator. 

When asked about the matter, Roberts called it “laughable” that anyone would suggest the World Economic Forum is protecting liberal democracy and equally so to attack Trump as a would-be dictator. 

“The very reason that I’m here in Davos is to explain to many people in this room and who are watching—with all due respect, nothing personal—but that you are part of the problem,” Heritage’s president said. “Political elites tell the people on three or four or five issues that the reality is X, when in fact the reality is Y.” 

Roberts noted that the World Economic Forum promotes a narrative that illegal immigration is positive, that there is no public safety threat in large American cities, and that climate change is catastrophic. 

The fourth issue he brought up is the WEF’s embrace of China. 

“China, the No. 1 adversary not just to the United States, but to free people on planet Earth. Not only do we at Davos not say that, we give the Chinese Communist Party a platform,” Roberts said. 

In a conference call with reporters after the panel, Roberts noted that some in the front row seemed to gasp when he talked about China and also appeared to express frustration. He also said the WEF provided a platform to Iran’s Islamist regime.

Fifth, Roberts said, the World Health Organization is pushing gender ideology even though it’s being rejected by countries in Northern Europe. 

“The new president, especially if it is President Trump, will, as you like to say, trust the science,” Roberts told the Davos audience. “He will understand the basic biological reality of manhood and womanhood. Do you know why? Not because of retribution. Not because he’s a dictator. But because he has the power of the American people behind him.” 

Although Baker and Roberts had a bit of a disagreement over Trump, as well as election reform earlier in the panel, the Journal editor referred to Heritage’s Project 2025, which is designed to help the next conservative president choose appointees.

“Kevin [Roberts] and The Heritage Foundation have been working very energetically to produce kind of a blueprint for the second administration,” Baker said, “and I think it will be much more coherent than the first administration in terms of personnel, in terms of policy. Frankly, Trump just picked a lot of people that he had seen on Fox News and quite liked for serious jobs in his administration. I think that wouldn’t happen this time. … There is going to be a much more serious, coherent approach this time.”

Later, Roberts fielded a question on what actions Trump would take on his first day in office if he is elected to a second term. 

“As soon as what I hope is a very brief inaugural address concludes—not because what would be in it would be unwise, quite the opposite, but because our country is on fire—there needs to be pushing through Schedule F civil service reform, so that the president can fire a good number of the unelected bureaucrats in the administrative state,” Roberts said, adding:

The administrative state is the greatest threat to democracy in the United States, and we need to end it. The second thing is, he needs to really confront all of the policies surrounding so-called climate change.

We love wind and solar [energy] at Heritage, we just want them to stand on their own in the free market. Because that affects human prosperity; more than a billion people in the world have been lifted out of poverty in the last 35 years because of fossil fuels.

Trump also would have to take a different stance on government spending than he did in his four years in office, Roberts said.

“The third thing he’s going to do—and this would be a bit of a departure from his last administration, when he spent too much money—is really be focused on fiscal restraint because we simply can’t afford it,” Roberts said. 

“It’s something that transcends the political Left and the political Right,” Heritage’s president said. “And I can tell you from the standpoint of Heritage and all of us at Project 2025, [we] will be zealously supportive of all three of those actions.”

Ken McIntyre contributed to this report, which was modified Jan. 19 to correct where the Hudson Institute is based.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.