Donald Trump just landed in Saudi Arabia for his first appearance on foreign soil as President of the United States and he decided to bring uber-patriotic country music star Toby Keith along with him. While President Trump is spending the day meeting with Saudi leaders, signing a $110 billion arms deal, giving a speech about Islam, and receiving honors from the Saudi King Salman, Toby Keith will be playing a concert for men only in the Saudi capital city of Riyadh, according to Newsweek. Both men are receiving criticism due to alleged hypocrisy.
The criticism first started rolling in immediately after Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, descended the steps of Air Force One soon after landing. Melania Trump was wearing a headscarf, which is not only a custom but a law for women in the devoutly Muslim country. The criticism did not revolve around her decision to not abide by this custom, however, but around her husband’s criticism of the former First Lady’s decision to not wear a headscarf in a 2015 tweet.
Hypocrisy between Donald Trump’s actions as President and tweets he made criticizing Barack Obama for the past eight years have become a common feature of his short time in office. For example, the President was a fierce critic of Barack Obama’s golf trips but has taken frequent golf trips since his inauguration.
Trump today made his 6th trip to the golf course in 30 days as president.
Here are his previous tweets about presidents and golf: pic.twitter.com/66361Bgk3b
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 19, 2017
According to Time, Donald Trump criticized Saudi Arabia frequently during his campaign for President, often in the interest of tying Hillary Clinton to the Arab country.
“Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays,” Trump wrote in a Facebook post in June of 2016. “Hillary must return all money from such countries!”
According to the Hill, Donald Trump registered a total of eight new companies in Saudi Arabia during his 2016 campaign, highlighting a disparity between his rhetoric and his actions.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2017
Perhaps the centerpiece of the accusations of hypocrisy surrounding Donald Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia and interactions with the country’s leaders can be found in past comments he made accusing Saudi Arabia of being behind the attacks of September 11, 2001. According to the Intercept, private citizen Donald Trump was a fierce critic of the Saudi regime during his campaign.
“Who blew up the World Trade Center?” Trump asked on Fox and Friends on the morning of February 17, 2016. “It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi — take a look at Saudi Arabia, open the documents.”
Later that same day Trump held a rally in South Carolina and spoke of secret papers that could prove the Saudis were behind the attacks.
“It wasn’t the Iraqis that knocked down the World Trade Center,” Trump told the crowd. “Because they have papers in there that are very secret, you may find it’s the Saudis, OK?”
Comedian David Cross tweeted a joke highlighting the apparent hypocrisy.
Touching and solemn moment this morning in Saudi Arabia, as Trump laid a golden wreath on the tomb of the known 9-11 bomber.
— )))David Cross((( (@davidcrosss) May 20, 2017
Similar to Donald Trump, Toby Keith is also receiving some criticism for his apparent hypocrisy surrounding his concert in Riyadh. Keith has a number of songs dealing with themes of American patriotism and Islam. One of them, “The Taliban Song,” seems to decry Islamic sexism in the lyrics, according to Lyrics Depot.
“Now I ain’t seen my wife’s face since they came here,” Keith sings. “They make her wear a scarf over her head that covers her from ear to ear.”
Male only concerts are apparently okay with Toby Keith, however.
Remember when Trump and the hypocrite right were upset over Hillary's dealings with the Saudi?
Yeah, me either.https://t.co/simjP0fkaS
— Wolf Among Men (@RadjinWolf) May 20, 2017
More important than these instances of alleged hypocrisy is the fact that Donald Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia ignores that country’s brutality against the people of Yemen. According to Reuters, a report by U.N. monitors in January of 2017, suggests that Saudi Arabia is committing war crimes in Yemen. The report investigated 10 airstrikes in Yemen between March and October of 2016 that killed 292 civilians.
“In eight of the 10 investigations, the panel found no evidence that the air strikes had targeted legitimate military objectives,” the experts wrote in a 63-page report presented to the Security Council in January. “For all 10 investigations, the panel considers it almost certain that the coalition did not meet international humanitarian law requirements of proportionality and precautions in attack,” the report said. “The panel considers that some of the attacks may amount to war crimes.”
President Donald Trump’s unwillingness to criticize Saudi Arabia highlights yet another stark contrast between his rhetoric as a candidate and his actions as President.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images, Ethan Miller/Getty Images]