President Donald Trump landed in Saudi Arabia, along with the First Lady Melania Trump, and was promptly greeted with an elaborate welcome from Saudi King Salman and other high-level Saudi officials on the tarmac once they emerged from Air Force One.
Trump is also expected to announce various new agreements made with Saudi Arabia — one of which includes a $100 million weapons deal that was lead primarily by Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner, according to the New York Times.
It was reported by the Business Insider that the new agreement with Saudia Arabia also includes ships, missile defense systems, and tanks in addition to radar and communications as well as cyber security technology.
Earlier this month, it was reported that President Trump’s son-in-law personally called Lockheed Martin CEO during a meeting with a Saudi delegation and asked her to cut the price of a missile defense system, as reported by the New York Times. The phone call was a part of Jared Kushner’s effort to secure the $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia before Trump’s scheduled trip to the kingdom this weekend, according to The Hill.
The president’s stop in the Saudi capital is the first in an eight-day, five-country sweep across the Europe and the Middle East.
Trump’s grand welcome featured a military brass band and a fighter jet flyover. The display was a demonstration of how highly anticipated Trump’s arrival was to this Middle Eastern kingdom.
The international visit is intended to strengthen partnerships abroad, which can hopefully halt the controversial narrative going on back in the United States. Trump’s schedule leads him into the capitals of three great world religions.
Once the president and First Lady Melania Trump emerged from the aircraft, Trump was greeted by the 81-year-old Salman. The two leaders were seen in friendly conversation inside the Royal Terminal at the airport.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 20, 2017
Salman and Trump shared a long drive from the airport to central Riyadh, where the president is staying.
On Saturday morning, Amin Nasser, the chief executive of Saudi oil giant Aramco, said $50 billion of deals would be signed with 11 U.S. companies. The deal is part of a wider drive to diversify the Saudi economy away from oil, according to the New York Times.
As per BBC, President Trump will spend much of the day in meetings with Salman and his government, including the powerful deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
Upon arriving in Saudi Arabia, the POTUS tweeted about the long 14-hour flight to reach King Khalid International Airport.
I'm on Air Force One flying to Saudi Arabia. Pilot says this is a 14 hour flight. So slow! The pilot who flys me to New York is much faster.
— Donald J. Trump (@RealDonaldTrFan) May 19, 2017
On Sunday, Trump will attend the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh and speak about his “hopes of a peaceful vision of Islam,” according to BBC. It is on this day that Trump plans to deliver a speech that White House aides say will be a call to the Muslim world to unite against extremism and terror.
An anonymous official said it is also intended to “reset” Trump’s image in relation to Muslims after a campaign in which he called for a temporary travel ban on immigration from six predominately Muslim countries.
Aides say the president hopes his speech will resonate worldwide and express “a common vision of peace, progress, and prosperity.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2017
First Lady Melania Trump was happy to be in Saudi Arabia as she thanked the capital of Riyadh for a lovely welcome. Many wondered if Melania would join in the tradition of past first ladies in not wearing a traditional headscarf.
The president was also accompanied by his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner on the trip.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) May 20, 2017
This week, the Justice Department named a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in last year’s election, including potential ties between Trump associates and Russian officials.
Trump’s firing of FBI Director, James Comey, fueled the Russian narrative. Comey was originally leading the Russia probe. The POTUS has also been accused of revealing highly classified intelligence to Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week.
After Saudi Arabia, Trump will make trips to Israel, Rome, Brussels, and Sicily.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]