Friday, 13 December, 2019

Melania Trump skips headscarf in Saudi Arabia

Christy Curtis | 21 May, 2017, 02:28

U.S. President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, smiles at Saudi King Salman, left, upon his arrival at a welcome ceremony at the Royal Terminal of King Khalid International Airport, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh. The two leaders shared a long drive from the airport to central Riyadh, where the President is staying, and Trump was due to spent much of Saturday in meetings with Salman and his government, including the powerful deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. He declared Trump was being honoured for "his quest to enhance security and stability in the region and around the world".

Also joining the President: first lady Melania Trump, who disembarked Air Force One alongside her husband Saturday in a flowing black jumpsuit with a gold belt.

President Donald Trump had criticized former first lady Michelle Obama for not wearing a headscarf during a January 2015 visit to the nation with then-President Barack Obama. But Trump will be looking for more than just economic deals as he eyes an increased commitment from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and terrorism more broadly in the Middle East. Trump's luxury hotel was bathed in red, white and blue lights and, at times, an image of the president's face.

The trip will last nine days and will also include Israel, Italy, Vatican City and Belgium.

President Donald Trump was lavished with extravagant royal pomp here Saturday during his first stop overseas as President, an elaborate start to a trip meant to bolster global partnerships but which aides now hope can reset a scandal-pocked narrative back home.

Riyadh also showed its leadership by hosting Muslim leaders for a summit with Trump in establishing a new partnership to confront extremism and terrorism; and promote the values of tolerance, coexistence and cooperation.

Trump flew to Riyadh overnight on Air Force One.

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President Trump is formally greeted upon arriving in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday.

Trump and his wife, who dressed conservatively in black but did not cover her hair as Saudi women are required to do, walked side-by-side to the tarmac where they both shook hands with the 81-year-old king. Then-first lady Laura Bush generally went without covering her head, though she once briefly donned a headscarf that she received as a gift.

Mr Trump was joined on the trip by the chief executives of several major USA companies, which announced their own agreements with the Saudis.

Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser in the administration, reportedly took a hands-on approach early on in the arms deal negotiations, calling Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson to see if anything could be done about the price of a sophisticated radar system. They exchanged a handshake and Trump said it was "a great honor" to be there.

Prior to the ceremonial greeting on Saturday, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said that Trump got very little sleep on the 14-hour flight, CNN reported.

The draft also notably did not contain the words "radical Islamic terror", a phrase Mr Trump repeatedly criticised his 2016 president rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, for not using during last year's campaign.

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