Melania Trump forgoes headscarf in Saudi Arabia despite husband's 2015 tweet

Multi-billion dollar deals between the US and Saudi Arabia will be signed on Saturday as US President Donald Trump's first foreign trip begins in Riyadh. The complex itinerary will bring Trump to the capitals of three great world religions and introduce him to the grueling pace of presidential foreign travel.

The visit kicks off an ambitious global debut for Trump.

The eight-day trip will also take in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Brussels, the Vatican, and Sicily.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania arrive for a welcome ceremony at the Royal Terminal of King Khalid International Airport, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh.

Several jets then flew overhead leaving a red, white and blue trail.

Soon after, Trump tweeted for the first time on global soil as president.

"The big question mark that you should bear in mind is if Saudi Arabia signs up for a $100 billion arms deal with oil prices where they are today, how are they actually going to pay that in the future?" said Bruce Riedel, former Central Intelligence Agency analyst and counter-terrorism expert now with the Brookings Institution. It says that it's "Great to be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia" and says Trump is "Looking forward to the afternoon and evening ahead".

As her husband chatted to Saudi king Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Melania walked behind with a group of officials taking in the scenery.

On visits earlier this year, British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also shunned head coverings.

White House officials hope the trip gives Trump the opportunity to recalibrate after one of the most hard stretches of his young presidency.

The White House bungled the president's firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing a federal investigation into possible ties between Mr Trump's campaign and Russian Federation. This week, the Justice Department relented to pressure from Democrats and named former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the probe.

But fresh news reports about the Russian Federation investigation surfaced shortly after Trump departed and threatened to overshadow the nine-day trip.

The White House was rocked by another bombshell when reports emerged that Trump said his firing of "nut job" Comey had relieved "great pressure" on him due to the investigation.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that an unidentified senior Trump adviser was being considered a "person of interest" in the investigation.

Despite his domestic troubles, Trump was expected to get a warm reception in Saudi Arabia.

The king did not greet Mr Obama at the airport when he visited previous year.

Trump and the 81-year-old Salman were seen in friendly conversation inside the Royal Terminal just after Trump touched down, and the two leaders shared a long drive from the airport to central Riyadh, where the President is staying.

Under the kingdom's strict dress code for women, Saudi women and most female visitors are required to wear a loose, black robe, known as an abaya, in public.

Two years ago, then-citizen Trump criticized then-first lady Michelle Obama's decision to go bare-headed on a January 2015 visit with her husband. The President's visit comes as Iran's President Hassan Rouhani handily won re-election in what amounts to a victory for the Shiite nation's reformist camp.

Trump is the first U.S. president to choose a Muslim-majority nation for his first stop overseas, and his aides have said the decision was meant to rebut notions that Trump is anti-Muslim.

While most United States presidents make their first foreign trip to neighbouring Canada or Mexico, 70-year-old Trump has opted instead for the Middle East and Europe. The package includes tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems, radar and communications, and cybersecurity technology.

After spending much of Saturday meeting with King Salman and other royal family members, Trump was ending the day at a banquet dinner at the Murabba Palace.

Trump dodged one potential land mine when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted on war crime and genocide charges, announced that he would not attend the summit for personal reasons.

Sunday's speech to dozens of Muslim leaders has been touted as a major event - along the lines of a landmark address to the Islamic world given by Obama in Cairo in 2009.

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