President Donald Trump is on his first foreign trip after assuming office. Saudia Arabia was the first spell of the nine-day, five-city trip.
From a massive arms deal for the Saudis to a $100 million donation to Ivanka Trump’s “women’s empowerment” fund, Trump's visit to the Arab country was fraught with controversy. However, most importantly, during a speech to the Muslim world in Riyadh, the president ditched his hard-line rhetoric from the 2016 election campaign and instead called Islam "one of the world's great faiths."
His speech also had several other contradictions.
Radical Islamic Terrorism
During the election campaign, Trump called out former President Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton for not saying the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” He repeatedly stressed the need to say the phrase. Obama declined to use the term because he said he didn't want to connect terrorist groups like the Islamic State to the religion of Islam. However, during his Trump’s address the incendiary words were completely missing from his own speech.
During the election campaign, Trump said in an interview that he thinks Islam “hates us.” He also said that “we're having problems with Muslims coming into the country.” On several occasions, he also said that it was important to surveil mosques. However, now his tune has changed completely as during the speech he expressed, “Young Muslim boys and girls should be able to grow up free from fear, safe from violence and innocent of hatred. And young Muslim men and women should have the chance to build a new era of prosperity for themselves and their people.”
Surprisingly, he also called Arabs, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations “innocent.”
Trump also repeatedly criticized Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, which received millions in donations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and several other Mideast nations. However, it has now emerged that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have reportedly pledged $100 million to the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Fund built by first daughter and White House aide Ivanka Trump.
The president has accused Saudi Arabia of masterminding 9/11 before his election. However, now Trump thanked the king and his “magnificent” kingdom. He also said, “I have always heard about the splendor of your country and the kindness of your citizens, but words do not do justice to the grandeur of this remarkable place.”
In 2015, when former President Barrack Obama and Michelle Obama visited Saudi Arabia, the then-first lady opted against wearing a hijab, as most visiting dignitaries do. Trump called out her for not wearing a headscarf in a tweet. However, now first lady Melania Trump and first daughter Ivanka Trump arrived in the Gulf country sans a headscarf. Trump didn't say a word.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters