Politics

Trump To Do Something Unprecedented On Foreign Trip

| by Brendan Kelly

President Donald Trump is preparing for his first foreign trip as president, on which he will do something no president before him has done.

"No president has ever visited the homelands and holy sites of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslims faiths all on one trip," said National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster.

On Trump's ambitious first foreign trip, he will be doing just that. According to Newser, the president will be visiting Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Vatican, as well as attending a NATO meeting in Belgium and then the G7 summit in Sicily, during his nine-day trip.

"What President Trump is seeking is to unite peoples of all faiths around a common vision of peace, progress and prosperity," McMaster said.

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The first stop on Trump's trip is Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to address the leaders of about 50 Muslim countries in Riyadh. The topic of the speech is the "need to confront radical ideology" and the president's "hope for a peaceful vision of Islam to dominate across the world," CNN reports.

McMaster said that the speech is "intended to unite the broader Muslim world against common enemies of all civilization and to demonstrate our commitment to our Muslim partners."

Elliott Abrams, the supervisor of former President George W. Bush's Middle East policy, says that in his speech, Trump will have to navigate between "very dangerous portals," adding: "If he says nothing about Islamic extremism, then supporters at home will say he bit his tongue; if he says too much about it, he would conceivably offend some of those who are there."

Next on the trip will be Israel, where Trump plans to visit the Western Wall and the town of Bethlehem. He reportedly planned a speech, but the plans were canceled after Israel declined to allow a helicopter to land at the ancient hilltop site of Masada.

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According to Newser, a source told The Jerusalem Post that Trump will not propose a peace plan during his time in Israel on this trip, but that he may state his opposition the expansion of Israeli settlement. He will also lay a wreath at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem's memorial to Holocaust victims, before giving a speech at the Israel Museum.

From Israel, Trump will head to Europe, where he is expected to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, as well as a number of other leaders and heads of state.

According to Newser, sources have told The New York Times Trump has complained to friends that he is not looking forward to taking the trip. 

Critics of Trump fear that during his trip, he may make a blunder that could cause issues with foreign leaders. 

Larry Sabato, the head of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, says that there has never been a president who has made a first foreign trip amid so much controversy.

"He's already a president viewed skeptically by much of the world," Sabato told The Associated Press, according to Newser. "And while pictures from the trip may be great, the White House can't change the headlines that will follow him wherever he does."

Others feel that the trip will be a good opportunity for the president.

Foreign policy expert James Carofano of the Heritage Foundation told The Washington Post that he feels the foreign trip will be an opportunity for Trump to have a fresh start after a tumultuous several months in Washington. 

"The great thing about a trip, they control the environment, you control the interaction, you control the agenda and you control the press access," Carofano said. "If you fumble on one of these trips, it’s nobody’s fault but your own."

Trump will be joined on the trip by his wife, Melania Trump, who will attend the G7 summit and NATO spousal programs. She will also speak to American military families in Italy.

In a statement regarding the trip, Mrs. Trump said, "This will not just be an opportunity to support my husband as he works on important matters of national security and foreign relations, it will also be my honor to visit and speak with women and children from different countries."

Sources: NewserCNNThe Washington Post / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

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