In Saudi Arabia, Melania Trump opts to keep her head bare

The US president was greeted by the 81-year-old King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at the airport (an honour not extended to Barak Obama during the last presidential visit). A military brass band played, cannons boomed and seven Saudi jets flew over in V-formation, trailing red, white and blue smoke.

"This package of defence equipment and services support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian threats", a White House official said in announcing the deal.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia- President Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia Saturday, marking his first foreign trip to the Middle East as commander-in-chief.

With controversy surrounding alleged ties between his campaign and Russian Federation looming in the U.S., President Trump arriving in Saudi Arabia where he received a lavish royal welcome.

The president began Sunday with a meeting with the king of Bahrain.

A tweet of President Trump's is being displayed on a billboard in downtown Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during Trump's visit to the country.

Trump is set to head to Israel after he leaves the Saudi capital of Riyadh early on Monday.

The king of Saudi Arabia told President Donald Trump on Saturday that he's optimistic about the USA leader's ability to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians, according to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir.

Trump arrived in Riyadh besieged by the fallout from his firing of FBI Director James Comey and more revelations about the federal investigations into his election campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation.

But her decision is consistent with custom for female foreign dignitaries visiting Saudi Arabia.

The order, the nation's highest civilian honor, was also bestowed upon former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. He's also hoping to move past the controversies engulfing his administration.

But the first day of Trump's five-stop overseas trip was dominated by a series of highly choreographed ceremonies, beginning with an elaborate red-carpet arrival and ending with a traditional sword dance at the historic Murabba Palace.

Hillary Clinton, on trips to Saudi Arabia as Obama's secretary of state, also did not cover her head.

Trump called the day "tremendous" and said it would result in "hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs". Some even suggested Trump curtsied before the king.

There was at least one of the president's big-name backers who did not hide his feelings.

The centerpiece of Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia is a speech Sunday at the Arab-Islamic-American summit. White House aides view the address as a counter to Obama's 2009 speech to the Muslim world, which Trump criticized as too apologetic for USA actions in the region. It notably refrains from mentioning democracy and human rights, topics Arab leaders often view as United States moralising, in favour of the more limited goals of peace and stability. The scheduling choice is designed in part to show respect to the region after months of harsh anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric.

  • Leroy Wright