Worldwide effort set to keep Trump happy on 1st trip abroad


President Donald Trump will leave Friday afternoon on his first global trip since taking office, a five-country journey to meet with some of the most important figures in the Middle East and Europe.

CORNISH: That's NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith.

"It's nearly always true that when a president goes on a big foreign trip, especially one that has some important summits ... that that dominates the news and knocks most other stuff out", said Republican strategist Charlie Black.

The speech on combating radical Islam is to be given to around 50 Muslim leaders during the President's first official visit to Saudi Arabia. There is enormous pressure on his advance teams of young, inexperienced staffers who negotiate the stagecraft of Trump's encounters with foreign leaders and prepare agendas of meetings.

Despite friendly meetings with Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to Washington, there could also be trouble awaiting the President in Israel, which is reported to be the source of intelligence on Isis shared with Russian Federation.

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Carafano said that given the turmoil in Washington, an overseas trip presents an opportunity. "He represents the United States, even if we are setting kind of a low bar for this trip - if he doesn't make mistakes". Saudi Arabia was not on the list of seven Muslim-majority countries affected by the President's ban.

But for Riyadh, analysts say, a primary goal is to showcase its leadership of the Muslim world, especially in the face of regional rival Iran.

Mr Trump's views on the Iran nuclear deal - which is now under a United States government review - could cause tensions during the European portion of the visit. Others said those lengthy sessions will be a test of Trump's patience and ability to cede the spotlight, and they worry about a gaffe or blunder.

TRT World's Alican Ayanlar has more from Washington DC.

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Trump's delivery of a speech on Islam before dozens of Muslim leaders gathered in the Saudi capital could prove a far more delicate exercise, however, given the tensions sparked by his travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority nations - now stuck in the U.S. courts.

According to US Diplomat Richard Haass, former president of the US Council on Foreign Relations, Trump's visit to the Kingdom is seen as a reassurance to America's allies in the region, who look towards a partnership with the US to stand against Iran and the nuclear deal, in addition to supporting the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, without getting the US involved in the war there.

And yes, this message will come from the same person who proposed a "Muslim ban" during the campaign and has said things in the past that have been widely perceived as being opposed to the Islamic religion.

Trump's meeting with Pope Francis - two men at odds on everything from climate change to refugee policy - remains highly unpredictable, although the pontiff says he will give America's bullish leader an open-minded hearing.

The White House laid out three purposes for the trip: reaffirming U.S. leadership globally, building relationships with world leaders and broadcasting "a message of unity to America's friends and to the faithful of three of the world's greatest religions", said national security adviser HR McMaster.

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