With all the trouble trailing his presidency at home, Donald Trump took a trip on Friday, hoping it would shift attention to foreign policy agenda, as opposed to the controversies about his methods.
The destination is Saudi Arabia, and on Friday afternoon, he’s expected to fly out. After Saudi Arabia, he would head to Israel, to Belgium and then finally to Italy.
According to sources, he scheduled this trip in a bid to visit the most sacred places to three of the world’s major religions, while also seizing the opportunity to meet with world leaders in Arab, Israel, as well as in Italy.
Threatening to cast a shadow over his trip are, among other things, the political tumult in Washington about the President’s sacking of former Director James Comey of the FBI, plus his alleged pressure on Comey to cease the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Not to talk about the appointment of the special committee to look into the alleged Russian connection to the elections in 2016.
Speaking at the White house on Thursday to a news conference, Trump said:
“We look forward to getting this whole situation behind us.”
This would mark his first foreign trip since assuming office at the beginning of the year, and his team is definitely hoping it would help put a perspective on the troubles at home.
Leaders in Saudi Arabia and Israel have expressed their expectation of the POTUS, but hanging over everything are his perspective on the Iran nuclear deal, his stand to NATO security and his attitude to the Paris climate agreement, as these could create some pressure at the meetings.
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Republican strategist Charlie Black, speaking about this, said:
“It’s almost always true that when a president goes on a big foreign trip, especially one that has some important summits … that dominates the news and knocks most other stuff out.”
“Whether by accident or design, this will help him in terms of Russia news for a while.”
Trump’s team has made it clear that the plan of the trip is three-thronged. To reaffirm the leadership of the US, to build a better relationship with leaders of the world, and foster unity among the three major religions of the world.