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Trump basks in lavish Saudi welcome, escaping troubles in DC

Trump basks in lavish Saudi welcome, escaping troubles in DC

President Trump's critics seem a little miffed that Saudi Arabia is granting such adulation to a guy that once said that Saudi Arabia "wouldn't exist" without US assistance.

The arms package includes a pledge by the kingdom to assemble 150 Lockheed Martin Blackhawk helicopters in Saudi Arabia, in a $6 billion deal expected to result in about 450 jobs in the kingdom.

The normally austere kingdom has put on a major display for the visit, with the streets of Riyadh lined with United States and Saudi flags and billboards featuring Trump and King Salman.

He travels to Israel and the Palestinian Territories on Monday and Tuesday, and then to the Vatican and to Brussels and Italy for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and G7 meetings.

A red carpet was rolled out and staircase rolled up to Air Force One after it landed at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh shortly before 10:00 am local time. The 81-year-old King Salman, who used a cane for support, was brought to the steps of the plane in a golf cart.

The president, confronted by growing political scandals at home, intends to use the visit to portray his administration as a global leader by helping birth an alliance with like-minded Muslim leaders to combat "radical Islamic terrorism" (Trump's phrase and one the Saudis do not want to use).

Soon after, Trump tweeted for the first time on global soil as president.

Saudi Arabia is an unprecedented destination for an initial overseas trip by any USA president. "Looking forward to the afternoon and evening ahead". "Tremendous investments in the United States", Trump said at talks with Saudi King Salman.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also shunned head coverings during visits this year, showing how common it is for high-level female visitors to skip wearing a headscarf or an abaya, the loose-fitting black robe worn by Saudi women.

US President Donald Trump, along with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is accompanying him on the trip, attended a signing ceremony for nearly $110 billion worth of defence capabilities to be conveyed to Saudi Arabia, the US Department of State said in a statement on Saturday.

He later traveled to the King Abdul Aziz historical center in Riyadh for a tour and welcome ceremony and reception at the Murabba Palace.

The New York Times reported that Trump called Comey "a real nut job" while discussing the ongoing investigation with two Russian officials in the Oval Office earlier this month.

The arms deals included a Jane's catalog of military equipment, the State Department said: Tanks, artillery, counter-mortar radars, armored personnel carriers, helicopters, ships, patrol boats, aircraft and missile defenses. The king did not greet Obama at the airport as he did Saturday with Trump.

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. A date of this open hearing would be scheduled after the Memorial Day, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said Friday. Saudi's ruling family grew deeply frustrated with Obama's detente with Iran and his restrained approach on Syria. Ivanka Trump, who was accompanied by her husband, top aide Jared Kushner, wore a long-sleeved multi-colored dress that reached her ankles.

On Sunday, Trump and the king were to join more than 50 regional leaders for meetings focused on combating the Islamic State group and other extremists. 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.

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