A billboard in downtown Riyadh, Saudi Arabia was seen to be casting a tweet of U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday, the Hill reports. The Tweet was regarding the POTUS’s visit to the Arab nation as part of his first foreign trip as a U.S. President. It was also the President’s first tweet in his trip to Saudi Arabia.
“Great to be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Looking forward to the afternoon and evening ahead. #POTUSAbroad”
A low-quality photo of the billboard was tweeted by Kevin Cirilli, a reporter for Bloomberg TV. Cirilli blamed the low quality of the photo on “sandy, desert conditions.”
— Kevin Cirilli (@kevcirilli) May 20, 2017
Trump embarked on his nine-day trip to five countries on Saturday. Saudi Arabia was his first stop, and Trump has had a busy day. Saudi Arabia and the United States signed a $110 billion arms deal. As per the deal, the U.S. will now be selling Tanks, Helicopters and a THAAD anti-missile system to Saudi Arabia. U.S. President Donald Trump described the deal as being a “tremendous investment” on the United States.
“Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs. That was a tremendous day. Tremendous investments in the United States.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2017
The arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which was confirmed by President Trump himself to be worth $109.7 billion, has been predicted to grow to over $380 billion within the next 10 years. Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, pointed out that this deal was a great achievement for the Trump administration, saying that not only would it assist the American economy, but it create a lot of jobs for Americans.
Beyond $109b in military sales, @potus deal w US & Saudi Arabia incs another $250b commercial investment creating hundreds of 1000s US jobs
— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) May 20, 2017
The deal has however been attacked on multiple fronts. One front claims that this deal makes President Trump appear hypocritical, since he has himself, in the past, repeatedly accused Saudi Arabia of masterminding the 9/11 attacks. Trump said after winning the election that the United States should stop importing oil from Saudi Arabia. Trump has also accused Saudi Arabia of atrocities against homosexuals and of enslaving women. One February poll shows that Americans aren’t particularly fond of Saudi Arabia– it’s one of the least liked countries, only slightly behind Russia.
Another front has attacked this deal, pointing out the Saudi Arabian military’s involvement in various war crimes. Amnesty International has accused Saudi Arabia of violating International law by conduction air strikes and killing citizens in Yemen. The Human Rights organization has panned President Trump’s deal, assuring it of a “glaring omission of human rights on the leaders’ agenda.” The organization has repeatedly requested the U.S. to stop dealing arms to Saudi Arabia. The executive direction of Amnesty International USA, Margaret Huang, had this to say about the deal.
“This brazen disregard for human rights and humanitarian law will only serve to further embolden states in the Gulf and around the globe in their pursuit of ‘security’ at the expense of people’s basic rights.”
The Deputy Crown Price of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been said to have developed a close relationship with President Trump seven months before Trump’s first state visit to the country.
President Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday with his wife, First Lady Melania Trump. The Trumps were criticized for Melania’s refusal to wear a head-scarf. Many noted that Trump himself had criticized former first lady, Michelle Obama, for not wearing a headscarf during the Obamas’ state visit to Saudi Arabia in 2015.
Trump is expected to give a speech later on Sunday on how to deal with radical Islam. The President’s national security adviser HR McMaster has said that the speech will be “direct but inspiring.” Leaked excerpts of the speech show that the President will not be using the term “radical Islam.” It is worth noting that Trump had repeatedly criticized former President Barack Obama’s refusal to use the term. A concert featuring country singer Toby Keith has also been planned for the same event.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]