President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia to rare red carpet treatment. What a great way to begin the President’s first foreign trip that will last 9 days.
Several symbolic gestures by the Saudis show a sign of respect and friendship. This is very different from when Obama went to Saudi Arabia last year when the king didn’t even come to the airport to greet him.
He touched down in the Middle East this morning, hours after tweeting about his excitement for his first ‘big foreign trip.’
Trump flew to the capital Riyadh overnight on Air Force One – becoming the only president to make Saudi Arabia, or any majority Muslim country, his first stop overseas as president.
His arrival following a 6,700-mile flight was met with the pomp usually reserved for the likes of a Papal welcome in South America.
The president got the red carpet treatment – literally – and some airport workers took off their shoes before manicuring it with brooms in 97-degree heat.
Another symbolic gesture by the kingdom: There were 30 U.S. flags at the ready, a tiny fraction of the thousands that line streets and highways between the airport and the city center.
The king greeted President Trump at the bottom of the stairs – a very rare scene.
A 90-person Royal Saudi Air Forces honor guard practiced rifle drills and then stood at attention while Trump and his kingly escort ambled toward the terminal.
Melania and Ivanka Trump seemed determine to make a statement by deplaning without head coverings.
This was a rare sight among women in Riyadh whose main choices are the hijab and the niqab.
The King shook First Lady Melania Trump’s hand – a rare scene.
Still, the first lady stayed a half-dozen steps behind King Salman and her politician-husband, escorted by a lone U.S. Marine in full dress uniform.
After a welcome ceremony inside the Royal Terminal, Trump and Salman sat together in ‘The Beast,’ the White House’s armored SUV that travels in the belly of Air Force One.
The first stop was the glitzy Ritz-Carlton, whose exterior is being lit up at night with giant projected images of the American flag.
Trump’s first overseas speech is expected to frame the global fight against ISIS and other Islamist terror groups as a ‘battle between good and evil’ – but early drafts suggest he will not use the phrase ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’
He will also call on leaders in the Middle East to ‘drive out terrorists from your places of worship.’
Signs of American caution are everywhere as the president who once campaigned on the strength of excluding Muslims from the U.S. ventured into the nation whose king partners in construction with the Bin Laden Group.
U.S. military snipers stood guard on nearby jetways. A duplicate Air Force One 747 jet stood by, lest Trump’s schedule should be waylaid by engine trouble.
Read more: Daily Mail