But with Trump’s hawkish political profile, and the first lady’s insider position in the world of fashion, buzz around what the president’s wife would wear and whether that would include a headscarf was at a high in the hours before Air Force One touched down in Riyadh.
Marwan Kabalan, an analyst at the Doha Institute’s Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, told Al Jazeera the USA and Saudi Arabia will discuss a strategic plan aimed at countering “extremism” as an ideological battle. The two leaders were seen in friendly conversation inside the Royal Terminal at the airport.
National oil giant Saudi Aramco was also expected to sign $50 billion of deals with US companies on Saturday, part of a drive to diversify the kingdom’s economy beyond oil exports, Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser said.
A month after Donald Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the USA, a hijab-wearing American named Rose Hamid stood up in the grandstands a few rows behind the presidential candidate.
On the campaign trail, Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the US.
Awwad Al-Awwad, minister of culture and information, said that more than 500 journalists from around the world would cover the visit of US President Donald Trump. “No, no – think of it. Think of the stupidity”.
Prior to his election, Trump suggested a number of times that Saudi Arabia had links to the 9/11 attacks. Nice words to the right dictators-along with billions in military hardware, which unlike nice words will be used to continue to slaughter residents of a neighboring country and suppress domestic dissent-result in uniform silence.
As American and Saudi officials said, the goal of this summit is to launch a strong and ambitious strategic alliance to defeat extremism and terrorism for the prevalence of peace and life.
Mr Miller was involved in crafting Mr Trump’s controversial travel ban affecting several Muslim-majority countries, though the order has been blocked in the courts. “They’re not American or Muslim values”. Trump has called on Arab countries in the region to accept more Syrian refugees and sought their help to create safe zones in Syria, among other appeals.
Traveling with the Trump team will be dozens of US business leaders, including the heads of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Dow Chemical and General Electric. “That was a really low point from their perspective”.
He appeared to be referring to the mainly Sunni kingdom’s regional rival, Shiite-dominated Iran.
The Saudis have reason to see Trump as potentially a formidable ally.
Trump has also met with former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating; Richard McFeely, a former top Federal Bureau of Investigation official and acting Federal Bureau of Investigation director Andrew McCabe. These differences were largely centred around the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and the Obama administration’s cautions to the kingdom about the civilian toll of the war in Yemen.
Trump has yet to personally reassert the U.S. commitment to Article 5, NATO’s mutual defense clause. “And that endears him to autocratic leaders in the Middle East”, Hamid said.
While Obama often promoted human rights and democracy when he traveled overseas, Trump has signaled he will not and has ingratiated himself with some authoritarian leaders whose citizens are denied basic rights.
Editorial page editor Jackson Diehl (5/14/17) even suggested in earnest that Trump could “lead on human rights”, finishing off his sheepish, somewhat self-aware headline with “Really”.
“It makes me very nervous”, said Austin Ruse, Catholic author and president of C-Fam, a family research institute, as well as a member of Trump’s Council of Catholic Advisers, “because these two are very different people with very different priorities”.
Trump repeatedly told an apocryphal tale about U.S. Gen. John Pershing’s forces fighting Muslim insurgents in the Philippines in the early 1990s. “He behaves the same way they behave”.
“In Trump-land, all roads begin, at least, with an effort to differentiate yourself from your predecessor”, Miller says.