Melania Trump Gets Handshake From Saudi Arabia King In A Land Where Women Don’t Shake Hands [Opinion]

Donald and Melania Trump kick off their epic trip in 110-degree weather in Saudi Arabia, which is a country that has gone all-out to receive the new president and first lady of the United States. According to Fox & Friends Weekend live on Saturday morning, Saudi Arabia’s respect for the country of a visiting dignitary is shown by the reception given to them when arriving in the country. The people of Saudi Arabia went all-out for President Trump. A few years back, the Saudi king did not greet then-President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama at the airport, which was seen as disrespect in the headlines around the globe.

American flags flew right next to the Saudi flags that lined the streets of Trump’s route from the airport to the palace. There are billboards everywhere with images of Donald Trump and King Salman together announcing the president’s visit, so it is fair to say the Saudi’s couldn’t be any more welcoming to Donald and Melania Trump than they were on Saturday morning.

The president and the first lady were met at the airport by King Salman as they made their way down the stairs of Air Force One. The king stood with a cane on the red carpet that was rolled out for Donald and Melania Trump. He was surrounded by other important members of his country on the tarmac, according to the New York Times this morning.


The king not only extended his hand to President Trump but also to the first lady. This is a nation where women are treated very differently than men, so shaking a woman’s hand is virtually unheard of. Women are not allowed to drive a car in this country, where shaking a man’s hand is basically taboo for the female population. Ivanka Trump and her husband also accompanied her father and Melania on this trip, and the king’s hand was extended to Ivanka as well as Melania.

Benjamin Hall, who is a foreign affairs correspondent for Fox News, reported live from Saudi Arabia this morning. He said, “It is very rare in this conservative country that you would see the king reach out like that.” He was speaking about the king extending his hand for a handshake with Melania.


Saudi Arabia is a country where women need permission from a male relative to embark on any vital tasks. Women are attempting to end this male guardianship system, but it is still in place today. According to an article from last year by The Week, women of this country cannot get a passport or travel without permission from a male guardian.

While there is no law forbidding women to drive, the religion followed by the majority of the country prohibits this. Women drivers would “undermine social values,” which is the mindset behind not allowing women to drive a vehicle, according to The Week. Women cannot swim around men, they need to swim in a private or “women only” swimming pool.

According to The Week, women in Saudi Arabia can’t even try on clothes when buying them. Even in a fully private dressing room, it is considered taboo for a woman to disrobe to try on clothes outside of the privacy of her home. According to The Week, things are slowly but surely starting to modernize in today’s Saudi Arabia.

Exposing too much flesh and wearing makeup to show off a woman’s beauty is also against their beliefs in that country. Women typically don long cloaks and wear a headscarf to keep covered up. Melania Trump did not wear a headscarf, which many thought she might, but the president and the first lady came to Saudi Arabia as Americans and highly respected Americans at that!

The highest honor bestowed to a civilian in this nation was given to President Trump, according to Reuters. King Salman placed the gold King Abdulaziz medal around Trump’s neck while meeting in the Saudi capital at the royal court, which is seen below from an English version of a Saudi Arabia Facebook page.


According to Fox & Friends Weekend, the people of Saudi Arabia were honored that Donald Trump came to their country first on this several-country tour he’s embarked on. Traditionally, presidents in the past have made Saudi Arabia one of their last stops when setting out to tour several countries. This was a big deal for this country to have the president touchdown on Saudi Arabia ground before any other country in the world.

[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]