Wednesday, November 22, 2017 | ePaper

Trump`s first foreign trip has high stakes at each stop

  • Print


Trump's first foreign trip schedule: Saudi Arabia, Israel, Vatican, Belgium, Italy.

AP, Washington :
President Donald Trump's maiden international trip, a five-stop marathon across the Middle East and Europe, has long loomed as a crucial first test abroad for the chaos-courting president.
That was before he fired his FBI director - and the chain reaction of scandal that followed. Now, with the eyes of the world upon him, the president will embark on his big trip carrying the baggage of dire troubles at home. As he tries to calm allies worried about his "America First" message, he'll be followed by fallout from his firing of FBI Director James Comey and the appointment of a special counsel to probe his campaign's ties with Russia.
"There has never been a president taking his first international trip being dogged by scandal like this," said Larry Sabato, head of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. "He's already a president viewed skeptically by much of the world. And while the pictures from the trip may be great, the White House can't change the headlines that will follow him wherever he goes."
Trump's trip was always going to be dramatic. U.S. allies have been rattled by his warnings about pulling back from the world. He is tasked with urging a united front against terror by appealing to some of the same corners of the Muslim world he has tried to keep out of the United States with his travel ban. Last week, he added new layers of complication by disclosing classified intelligence to a longtime adversary.
Still, the White House once hoped the trip, wrapped in the pomp and circumstance of diplomatic protocol, could offer a chance at a reset after a tumultuous first four months in office. Trump's advisers saw it as an opportunity for the United States to boldly reassert itself on the world stage and resume a leadership role that the administration believes was abdicated by President Barack Obama. Trump's powerful senior adviser, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, led a West Wing team to craft the agenda, laden with religious symbolism.
Still, Trump hasn't been eager to seize the opportunity. It's been more than a half-century since any president waited as long to take his first foreign trip. The itinerary, which begins Saturday in Saudi Arabia, is a startlingly ambitious excursion for a president who dislikes travel and has displayed a shaky grasp of foreign affairs.
In Saudi Arabia, the president - whose campaign was marked by heated anti-Muslim rhetoric and whose administration has tried to enact a travel ban from several Muslim-majority countries - will deliver a speech to the Islamic world meant to be a clear contrast with the vision Obama laid out in his first trip to the region.
In Israel, Trump will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, looking to smooth over fresh tensions. Israel was in an uproar earlier this week after U.S. officials confirmed Trump shared highly classified intelligence about the Islamic State group with senior Russian officials visiting the White House. The information, about an IS threat related to the use of laptops on aircraft, came from Israel and there were concerns a valuable Israeli asset could be in danger, a U.S. official said, requesting anonymity to discuss the sensitive material.
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster added to the alarm by refusing to declare the Western Wall a part of Israel. U.S. policy holds that ownership of the holiest site where Jews can pray, as with the rest of Jerusalem, is subject to Israeli-Palestinian negotiation.
In Rome, the president will call upon Pope Francis, the popular, liberal-minded pontiff. Trump denounced Francis during the campaign, calling the holiest man in the Catholic faith "disgraceful" for questioning his faith.

More News For this Category

US strike in Somalia kills more than 100 Shabaab fighters

US strike in Somalia kills more than 100 Shabaab fighters

AFP, Washington :US forces conducted an air strike against the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab group in Somalia on Tuesday, killing more than 100 jihadists, military officials said."In coordination with the Federal

Lebanon's Hariri suspends resignation as PM, easing crisis

Lebanon's Hariri suspends resignation as PM, easing crisis

Reuters, Beirut :Lebanon's Saad al-Hariri on Wednesday suspended his decision to resign as prime minister at the request of President Michel Aoun to allow for dialogue, easing a major

Trump, Putin reaffirm commitment to peacefully resolving Syrian civil war

Trump, Putin reaffirm commitment to peacefully resolving Syrian civil war

PTI, Washington :US President Donald Trump today spoke over phone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to peacefully resolving the Syrian civil war,

News In Brief

Turkey orders detention of 216 in post-coup probeReuters, AnkaraTurkish authorities have issued detention warrants for 216 people, including former finance ministry personnel, suspected of having links to last year's

US, Chinese soldiers find common ground in disaster drills

AP,  Oregon :A man lay on the grass, shivering beneath his bloodstained T-shirt as Chinese military doctors and U.S. Army medics hovered over him, applying a splint and an

Putin, Assad for  political solution to Syria`s conflict

Putin, Assad for political solution to Syria`s conflict

Reuters, Moscow  :Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to talk about the need to move from military operations to the search for a political solution to Syria's

UN warns of conflict in Gaza if Cairo talks fail

UN warns of conflict in Gaza if Cairo talks fail

AFP, United Nations :Conflict is likely to once again engulf Gaza if a deal on the return of the Palestinian Authority to the Hamas-controlled enclave fails, the UN envoy for

News In Brief

US ending temporary permits for HaitiansAP, WashingtonThe Trump administration said it is ending a temporary residency permit program that has allowed almost 60,000 citizens from Haiti to live and work

Trump declares North Korea state sponsor of terror

Trump declares North Korea state sponsor of terror

Reuters, Washington :President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism on Monday, a designation that allows the United States to impose more sanctions

Iran, Lebanon reject Arab League criticism as tensions mount

AP, Tehran, Iran :Iran on Monday rejected a harsh statement by Arab League foreign ministers condemning the Islamic Republic and its proxy Hezbollah, saying the tirade was "full of lies"