In one headline, Donald Trump is slammed as a “hypocrite” for bowing to the Saudi king, and in another headline, he’s praised for shaking the king’s hand and not bowing like Obama did years ago. The debate is on over the posturing of Donald Trump upon presentation to King Salman today, which is the first full day of his trip that will take him to several countries.
The Daily Mail is praising Trump for shaking the king’s hand and reminding their readers how back in 2009, Obama broke away from State Department policy and bowed to the then-king at the G-20. From the pictures taken at the meet and greet of Donald Trump and King Salman, it is very clear the U.S. president didn’t bow to the Saudi king. The greeting consisted of a handshake from the king to the president and the king also extended his hand to First Lady Melania Trump.
The handshake extended to Melania was most likely done out of respect for the American culture. This showed a lot of respect coming from the king when greeting Trump and his family, as Ivanka was also privy to a handshake as well. In Saudi Arabia, men do not shake the hand of a woman. With it being very clear that Trump extended his hand to the king rather than bow, which is seen in the numerous images taken of the event, what is all the fuss about?
According to AOL News, Trump is “slammed as a hypocrite” for “bowing” to the Saudi Arabia king. How can two very different greetings get so misconstrued? After the initial greeting, King Salman presented Trump with the kingdom’s highest civilian honor, the King Abdulaziz al Saud Collar. This is a medal that was to hang around Trump’s neck on a golden chain. As you can see by the picture below, which the Washington Post shared on Facebook, Trump didn’t bow, as he was only bending over so the king could put the medal on the chain around his neck.
According to Salon, before departing, Trump told all of those on board Air Force One that he didn’t want to catch anyone from his party bowing in the kingdom. Salon reports that his entourage was also told that if they were caught bowing, they would face “a harsh punishment.”
Donald Trump is over 6 feet tall; he is 6 feet 2 inches tall to be exact. So when the Saudi king went to place that medal of honor over his head so it could be worn around his neck, Trump needed to bend down just a bit. As you can see in the side-by-side picture of Trump and the Saudi king above, Trump towers over the man. So unless this king came equipped with a ladder to hang this medal around Trump’s neck, the president had no choice but to bend over a bit to accept this honor. As you can see by the different social media posts on this page, people have mixed feelings about the bow vs. the bend over. Some have pointed out that it looks as if the king did a bit of a bow for Trump upon arrival, as seen in the right side of the picture below.
According to AOL, one Twitter user wrote, “Appears Trump really bowed down. Is this Making America Great Again?” This Twitter user appeared fairly adamant that Trump’s posture was that of a bow, instead of bending over to receive the prestigious medal, which is worn around the neck. Back when Obama bowed to the king, there was no mistaking what he was doing. He wasn’t getting a necklace draped around his neck; he just did a textbook bow when greeting the king.
Obama’s behavior sparked a lot of angst back in 2009. The leader of the free world bowing to a king whose kingdom didn’t recognize women as equals to men had folks outraged. Folks were almost as mad as when Obama took it upon himself to apologize to other countries for American ways when he first became president.
As the Washington Times reported, it was “at the beginning of his presidency” when Obama “traveled to Cairo, Europe, and the United Nations to apologize for past American actions and attitudes.” These incidents were quickly dubbed Obama’s “apology tour.” Obama claimed that the actions and attitudes of America “helped create divisions between countries,” so he apparently thought that he might fix that with a few apologies.
During a town-hall-like meeting that had citizens from France and Germany in attendance, Obama said, “there have been times where America [has] shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive” toward Europe. He carried on with similar apology strategies in the other countries. The tour also took Obama to Havana, Cuba, writes the Washington Times.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]