Where Trump Is Headed on First Foreign Trip


Donald Trump's first foreign trip in office will be to Saudi Arabia, where he will attend "a historic gathering of Muslim leaders from across the world".

"Saudi Arabia is the custodian of the two holiest sites in Islam", said Trump, who has frequently been accused of fuelling Islamophobia.

First lady Melania Trump will "will accompany her husband for the entire trip", an East Wing spokeswoman told CNN.

In addition to high-stakes meetings at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and G7 summits in Europe later this month, he'll meet the Pope at the Vatican and travel to Saudi Arabia and Israel. The trip is scheduled for later in May.

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This month he will take his first foreign trip as president.

"Tolerance is the cornerstone of peace", Trump said during an event in the White House's Rose Garden. The Senate also passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill by a bipartisan vote.

"President Trump has said a lot of things that a lot of those leaders agree with", said an aide. The official said the trip "demonstrates that the president is willing to and has embraced his leadership role in multinational forums when they serve the interests of the American people and American security", a second official said.

The weeklong trip will mark the president's first trip overseas and come about six weeks after the USA launched Tomahawk missiles against a Syrian air base in the aftermath of a chemical weapons attack in the war-ravaged country. "Come on up here, sister", Trump said to a member of group during his remarks.

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Trump said he would begin to construct a new foundation to combat "terrorism" in the trip. "It will change the conversation with regards to America's relationship with the Arab and Islamic world". Hooper greeted the news with silence, then a question: "Did he say why he's stopping there first?"

A senior Israeli official was cited by Haaretz as saying that the Trump-Abbas visit would be held in Bethlehem, where Trump would likely also visit the Church of the Nativity.

The president is committed to "better lives for children across all major religions", another senior official explained.

Trump could reverse a trend of increased travel for presidents in the last 50 years or so. As a candidate, Trump railed against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, claiming the United States contributes too much with little in return. Emphasizing that weeks of work by the White House, the National Security Council staff and other security agencies preceded Thursday's announcement, they described a strategy in which Trump sets long-range goals and objectives - such as Israeli-Palestinian peace, or the defeat of the Islamic State and global terrorism in general - finds willing partners to address them under USA leadership, and maintains flexibility on how to achieve them.

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