Trump was 'exhausted' when he deviated from prepared Saudi speech
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 01, 2017,
Jun 01, 2017, 22:12
The conciliatory message delivered to Saudi Arabia, a top USA ally in the region, was distinct from the antagonism previously used by Trump when speaking against Muslims.
The official said the Saudi Arabia stop was an "amazing coming together of a lot of people" who are "looking for an opportunity to follow the lead of what the president wanted to speak about". Rather than use the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism", Trump referred to "Islamist extremism" - a subtle but meaningful distinction that suggests the extremism is more ideological than religious.
"This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations". "This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people all in the name of religion. This is a battle between good and evil".
"Drive them out of your holy land and drive them out of this earth", he said.
Trump's address was the centrepiece of his visit to Riyadh, which started on Saturday with the announcement of billions of dollars in trade deals with Saudi Arabia and continued Sunday with the speech and meetings with Arab leaders.
Tillerson was asked aboard Air Force One if the president still believes Islam "hates us", as he declared repeatedly during the campaign.
The US president flew to Israel on Monday after a two-day stay in Saudi Arabia, which he chose for his first foreign trip since taking office in January.
The secretary of state said Trump is "increasing his own perspectives".
"And, wherever possible, we will seek gradual reforms - not sudden intervention", he said in the speech to 50 Muslim leaders at the Arab-Islamic-American Summit.
In the same speech where Trump urged the Gulf nations to unite and fight against "terrorist and extremists", he isolated out Iran for fuelling "the fires of sectarian conflict and terror". The demonstrations are meant to draw attention to a month-long hunger strike by hundreds of prisoners being held by Israel and to protest what many Palestinians say is unfair US support for Israel.
"And he could not have been clearer in his description of Hezbollah and Hamas as the terrorist groups they most assuredly are", Harris also said.