Melania Trump skips headscarf as she arrives in Saudi Arabia

Like British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on their recent visits to Saudi Arabia, Mrs Trump and Ivanka Trump did not wear headscarves. Late Friday, Saudi Arabia announced it had shot down a ballistic missile fired by Yemeni rebels southwest of Riyadh.

Before departing, the president tweeted he would be "strongly protecting American interests" on his marathon eight-day trip to the Middle East and Europe, that presents a major diplomatic test.

Trump's meeting with Pope Francis two men at odds on everything from climate change to refugee policy remains highly unpredictable, although the pontiff says he will give America's bullish leader an open-minded hearing.

Instead, Mrs. Trump's below-the-shoulder brown hair blew freely in the breeze at King Khalid International Airport in the capital city of Riyadh.

U.S. President Donald Trump will call for unity in the fight against radicalism in the Islamic world when he speaks in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, characterizing the effort as a "battle between good and evil", the Associated Press reported on Friday, citing a draft of his speech.

Melania Trump wore a black pantsuit with a golden belt and did not cover her head for the arrival, consistent with custom for foreign dignitaries visiting Saudi Arabia.

The scandals have revived questions about his ability to strike a presidential tone with his foreign counterparts, with Trump declaring himself the victim of the "greatest witch hunt" in American political history.

Ignoring President Donald Trump's past admonition, USA first lady Melania Trump did not cover her head Saturday when they arrived in Saudi Arabia on the opening leg of his first worldwide tour since taking office.

President Donald Trump had criticized former first lady Michelle Obama for not wearing a head scarf during a January 2015 visit to the nation with then-President Barack Obama. The nation offered Trum. Billboards featuring the image of Trump and the king dotted the highways of Riyadh and lights bathed Trump's luxury hotel in red, white and blue lights and, at times, an image of the president's face. He was joined by First Lady Melania Trump. They exchanged a handshake and Trump said it was "a great honor" to be there.

Several jets then flew overhead leaving a red, white and blue trail. The king did not greet Obama at the airport as he did Saturday with Trump.

President Donald Trump is opening his first trip overseas since taking office, touching down in Saudi Arabia after an overnight flight from Washington. So all eyes will be on a speech on Islam that the president is scheduled to deliver to dozens of Muslim leaders at a summit in Riyadh on Sunday.

Trump's visit is aimed at building stronger partnerships to combat terrorism in the region.

Still no one expects Trump to tackle those issues.

While most USA presidents make their first foreign trip to neighbouring Canada or Mexico, 70-year-old Trump has opted for six stops. The scheduling choice is designed in part to show respect to the region after months of harsh anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric.

After wrapping up his two-day visit, Trump will travel to Israel, Palestine and the Vatican and then on to Brussels and Sicily where he is to take part in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and G7 summits.

  • Larry Hoffman