DAVOS (WASHINGTON POST) - When asked on Tuesday (Jan 22) what he would say to United States President Donald Trump if he were seated next to him, former US secretary of state John Kerry hemmed and hawed a bit.
Then, he gave a one-word answer: "Resign."
Mr Kerry, the Democratic nominee for president in 2004, made the remark calling for the President to step down while speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The audience of mostly elite business, academic and government leaders from around the world initially laughed at Mr Kerry's comment and then many clapped and cheered.
Mr Trump was supposed to attend the World Economic Forum to deliver an address on Tuesday, but he pulled out because of the partial government shutdown that is now the longest in US history.
"He doesn't take any of this seriously," Mr Kerry said on the panel, adding that he doesn't think Mr Trump has the "ability" to have deep conversations.
The White House did not respond to an immediate request for comment, but Mr Trump bashed the media for not understanding him and his approach to Davos.
"Last time I went to Davos, the Fake News said I should not go there. This year, because of the Shutdown, I decided not to go, and the Fake News said I should be there. The fact is that the people understand the media better than the media understands them!"
Mr Trump tweeted on Tuesday shortly before Mr Kerry's call to resign.
Last year, Mr Trump received a warm welcome from the global elites at the World Economic Forum after legislation slashed business taxes and he scaled back regulations, moves that were heralded as pro-growth by many executives.
But this year, the vast majority of executives are frustrated by Mr Trump's tariffs, which they see as a major threat to the global economy. They are calling on Mr Trump to end the trade war, as the world economic slowdown appears to be getting worse.
More than a dozen members of Mr Trump's Cabinet were supposed to be in Davos this year to meet other world leaders and clarify the Trump administration's views on trade and foreign policy, but all of them stayed home because of the partial government shutdown that has left 800,000 workers without pay.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared briefly via teleconference to address to crowd at Davos.
Mr Pompeo noted that it was colder in Washington DC than in Switzerland and stressed that the Trump administration is not backing down from pushing for 21st century trade deals and security measures.
"Sometimes leadership and asking hard questions drives others to be a little concerned," Mr Pompeo said. "Perhaps they're not quite ready to stare these problems in the face, but we are, President Trump is."
He argued that voters around the world want change and this is how progress is made.
"Disruption is a positive development," he said.