Trump slams Iran in first foreign speech
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 03, 2017,
Jun 03, 2017, 19:38
However, when reporters shouted out questions regarding Saudi Arabia's human rights record - namely, one question about when the kingdom intends to allow women to drive - Tillerson ignored it.
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He also delivered a closely watched speech to the Muslim world in which he called for Middle East leaders to root out extremists at home, while casting the fight against terror as "good vs. evil" rather than the West vs. Islam.
"This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilizations", Trump said.
He delivered the speech on the second day of his first trip overseas as president, making his first stop in Saudi Arabia before traveling to Israel and Vatican City in Rome as he works to unite three major world faiths. Trump has also retreated from a campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, bending to the same diplomatic and security concerns as other presidents who have made similar promises.
The leaked texts did not include the controversial phrase "radical Islamic terrorism".
Some of Trump's wording on the issue also changed from his prepared remarks.
What the president said on Sunday was an important step, but it was just a beginning.
In a highly anticipated speech to dozens of leaders of Muslim countries in Saudi Arabia, Mr Trump lashed out at Iran and softened his tone on Islam by rejecting the idea of a battle between religions. Both the original order and a second directive that dropped Iraq from the banned list have been blocked by the courts.
In some ways, Trump delivered a conventional speech for an American politician. The president, who is struggling to contain a brewing political scandal at home, made clear in his address that Washington would partner with the Middle East but expected more action in return. He heralded the ambitions of the region's youth and warned that the scourge of extremism could tarnish their future.
"In sheer numbers, the deadliest toll has been exacted on the innocent people of Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations". He called on those leaders to do more to drive out terrorist groups. Drive them out of your communities.
The speech in a gilded hall bedecked with chandeliers is part of an effort to redefine his relationship with the Muslim world after Trump frequently attacked Muslims on the campaign trail previous year and tried to ban many from entering the United States.
He wasn't likely to bow before he became the leader of the free world, so it shouldn't have been a surprise when he didn't genuflect before Saudi King Salman as President Barack Obama did in 2009.
Trump, wearing a yarmulke, on Monday became the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall.
Trump received a warm welcome from Arab leaders, who set aside his campaign rhetoric about Muslims and focused on his desire to crack down on Iran's influence in the region, a commitment they found wanting in Obama.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday. But Trump's offhand remark was another stark reminder that his troubles at home, including the investigation of his campaign's ties to Russian Federation and his firing of FBI Director