Trump opens first presidential trip abroad in Saudi Arabia
Accompanying her husband on his first global trip, US first lady Melania Trump on Saturday stepped off of Air Force One conservatively dressed in long sleeves and trousers to conform to the strict dress code that Saudi Arabia enforces for its female citizens.
Thereafter, Trump will visit Israel, Vatican and then will attend the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels. As he tries to calm allies anxious about his “America First” message, he’ll be followed by fallout from his firing of FBI Director James Comey and the appointment of a special counsel to probe the president’s campaign ties with Russian Federation. This official said the White House regards that speech as a significant development that could draw other Arab nations closer to the U.S.
A senior Pakistani official, who requested anonymity said the prime minister was already preparing a “brief” for a possible interaction with the United States president.
Trump’s meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is scheduled in the capital Riyadh.
The king was to host the USA president and the US delegation later Saturday at the Royal Court for a banquet luncheon, presenting him with the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud, among the nation’s highest honors. They exchanged a handshake and Trump said it was “a great honor” to be there.
Nonetheless, Trump, whose long trail of Twitter messages often comes back to haunt him, tweeted his displeasure over Mrs. Obama’s decision to appear bare-headed in 2015.
Mr Trump’s first stop on a week-long overseas trip is meant to put in place a framework and fill in details for an enhanced partnership with traditional US Arab allies that involves them taking on a greater share of the responsibility for regional security.
President Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday carrying baggage – namely, a swirl of controversy stemming from his firing of FBI Director James Comey and the ongoing Russian Federation investigations.
Poll results showed on Saturday that Iranians had emphatically re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, architect of Iran’s still-fragile detente with the West.
A U.S. official said the words “radical Islamic terror” aren’t included in the current draft of Trump’s speech set to be delivered in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Trump’s visit to the Gulf is expected to bring lucrative arms contracts for U.S. firms, with reports that he will announce a $110 billion package in advanced arms and training with the Saudis.
“Under my leadership, so will Malaysia be – as should all Muslim countries at this summit and beyond”, Najib wrote.
A senior Saudi official said a digital centre to monitor the activities of Islamic State and other militant groups online would be opened on Sunday, to coincide with the visit.
But James Carafano, a foreign policy and national security analyst for the conservative Heritage Foundation who advised the president during the campaign and his transition, said a successful trip could be just what the administration needs.
Trump’s campaign was marked by his anti-Islamic rhetoric and his administration has twice tried to impose a travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries.
The 70-year-old president’s travel to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium will be Trump’s longest time away from the White House since he took office four months ago.
Even his hand gestures were likely to draw scrutiny in the Middle East, where the thumbs-up sign – a signature move of Mr Trump’s – is considered taboo.
The visit comes as Mr Trump faces uproar at home following his sacking of Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.
White House aides had hoped Trump’s ambitious foreign swing would provide relief from a barrage of bad headlines.