Trump basks in lavish Saudi welcome, escaping troubles in DC

The visit to the kingdom's capital kicked off Trump's first foreign trip as president, an ambitious, five-stop swing that will take him through the Middle East and into Europe.

"That was a tremendous day".

Saudi Arabia has previously bestowed the honor on Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Obama.

But the turmoil back home consumed the headlines and cast a long shadow over his first foreign trip as president. The Times quoted briefing notes of the conversation.

"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.

Russia's Interfax news agency on Saturday quoted Lavrov as saying he had not discussed Comey with Trump.

"This growing partnership is really grounded in trust", Tillerson said.

US President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Arabia´s Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman (centre L) at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017.

Lockheed Martin President Marillyn Hewson praised the deal.

"Tremendous investments into the United States and our military community is very happy and we want to thank you", Mr. Trump said.

Other world leaders have similarly participated in the ardah.

King Salman gave a more favorable welcome to Trump than he had granted previous year to Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, who was seen in the Arab kingdom as soft on Iran and hesitant on Syria.

Others dispute the bow, instead mocking Trump for "curtsying".

But then many of these same outlets ignored what looked like a clear bow when, later in the day, King Salman presented Tump with the King Abdulaziz al Saud Collar, the kingdom's highest civilian honor.

"It strengthens the bond between us and it does chart this new pathway forward", said Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State. A poet sings as men holding swords dance the ardha.

During their conversation earlier in the day, the king was overheard lamenting the Syrian war.

Also, U.S. business leaders at an economic forum taking place simultaneously in Saudi Arabia signed deals potentially worth more than $200 billion over the next 10 years.

National oil giant Saudi Aramco was also expected to sign $50 billion of deals with USA companies on Saturday, part of a drive to diversify the kingdom's economy beyond oil exports, Aramco's chief executive Amin Nasser said.

USA technology and engineering conglomerate GE said it had signed $15 billion of agreements with Saudi organizations.

Mr Trump will deliver a speech later today, seeking to galvanise Islamic action against Islamic extremism and terrorism.

In both videos Trump and his senior aides appear to be dancing in line with Saudi dignitaries with swords in hand as part of an official, if awkward-looking, welcome reception held for the president at the Al Murabba Palace in Riyadh.

  • Carolyn Briggs