When President Donald Trump goes to Saudi Arabia for his first foreign visit as commander in chief and dines with the royal family on May 20, caterers plan to serve him his favorite meal of steak and ketchup to go with a traditional halal meal that they are serving.
International leaders are reportedly going out of their way to ensure that the billionaire businessman-turned president, no doubt used to a lifetime of lavish living, feels comfortable during his stay, according to The Associated Press. Despite a flourishing international business, Trump rarely leaves the U.S. and usually stays at his own properties when traveling, where workers reportedly know how he likes his food served and even what temperature to keep his room.
The president, who is the first since former President Jimmy Carter to not leave the country during his first 100 days in office, has only visited wife Melania's home country of Slovenia on one occasion, when he met her parents during a day trip before they got married.
Leading up to the president's departure, White House aides worried that he might not be able to handle the busy trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Brussels and Sicily, and two officials reportedly expressed concerns that Trump would leave subsequent foreign travel to Vice President Mike Pence after the nine-day visit through different time zones and foreign hotels.
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"The chance of something going wrong -- you insult the hosts, you get sick, your boss gets sick, you miscommunicate with your hosts, you make a scheduling error, you need to change the schedule just hours before a meeting, the motorcade get stuck in traffic, or the plane is stranded due to bad weather -- is extremely high," Julianne Smith, a former foreign policy adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, told the AP. "Personally, I think they should cut it back now before they regret it."
Trump has reportedly told numerous friends that he does not want to leave the comfort of his own bed in the White House and stay in unfamiliar places and has also stated that he wanted his first trip to be only half as long as it is scheduled for, notes The New York Times.
However, despite some trepidation, most expect the visit to go without a hitch.
"These things tend to be heavily prepared on both sides so everyone knows what the expectations are," James B. Steinberg, who served as an international diplomat for former President Barack Obama, told The Times.
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While noting that Trump has not been reading all of the memos to adequately prepare for the details of the trip, Steinberg said that it should be "an easy trip."
"There's no crisis," he added. "It's a relationship-building trip. It's hard for it not to be a success unless something goes wrong."