Trump arrives at Royal Court for welcome event
- Author: Leroy Wright May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 22:15
As a campaigner, he called for a "total and complete shutdown" of the entry of Muslims to the United States "until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on", insisting that a sizable segment of the Muslim population has "great hatred toward Americans".
After wrapping up his two-day visit, Trump will travel to Israel, the Vatican and then on to Brussels and Sicily where he is to take part in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and G7 summits.
Trump was joined by first lady Melania Trump and several senior White House aides who were interspersed with Saudi officials throughout a grand ballroom. The 81-year-old King Salman, who used a cane for support, was brought to the steps of the plane in a golf cart.
White House officials hope the trip, complete with images of the accompanying pomp and pageantry of a president overseas, will help Mr Trump recalibrate after one of the most hard stretches of his young presidency.
Mr Trump was largely kept away from reporters during a busy day of meetings and ceremonies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The deals were paraded before Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in a public ceremony at the Royal Court, with the American CEOs walking to the middle of a cavernous room to exchange leather-bound folios marking the agreements with various Saudi ministers.
The king was overheard lamenting the Syrian war to Trump, who ordered air strikes against a Syrian airfield in April in response to a chemical weapons attack by government forces against civilians.
On the campaign trail he returned to his gilded Manhattan apartment after almost every rally, by helicopter or private jet, and former business aides say he was always reluctant to spend time anywhere but a Trump-branded property. The package includes tanks, combat ships, missile defence systems, radar and communications and cybersecurity technology.
Ahead of Trump's trip, the White House said the president expected tangible results from Saudi Arabia in countering Islamic extremism.
Instead he has spent his presidential honeymoon mostly hunkered in the White House or his Mar-a-Lago resort, dogged by a deepening scandal over his campaign's ties to Russian Federation over his campaign's ties to Russian Federation. On Wednesday, the Justice Department relented to calls from Democrats to name a special counsel, tapping former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Robert Mueller to lead the probe.
But fresh news reports about the Russian Federation investigation surfaced shortly after Mr Trump departed and threatened to overshadow the nine-day trip.
"I also pledged that our partners must show that they're partners, they must show that they're friends and they must contribute financially to the tremendous cost - the money that we're spending is so big, it's so much and it's not fair for our nation". Separately, Mr Comey agreed to testify at an upcoming, open hearing of the Senate intelligence committee, the panel said.
Saudi's ruling family grew deeply frustrated with Obama's detente with Iran and his restrained approach on Syria. The first lady is joining the president for the entire trip.
His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner - two of his closest advisors - were also on board Air Force One.
Michelle Obama did not cover her head when she accompanied then-President Barack Obama on a condolence visit in January 2015 after the death of King Abdullah. He will also attend a summit of Gulf leaders of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council.
Sunday's speech to dozens of Muslim leaders has been touted as a major event - along the lines of a landmark address to the Islamic world given by Obama in Cairo in 2009.
Trump will call for unity in the fight against radicalism in the Muslim world, casting the challenge as a "battle between good and evil" and urging Arab leaders to "drive out the terrorists from your places of worship", according to a draft of the speech obtained by The Associated Press.