What Trump's Visit to Saudi Arabia Means to the Arab World?
Photo Credit: www.albayan.ae
By Ramzi Gharbi/ Contributing Writer
President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday May 2Oth felt oddly similar to the 1988 Hollywood blockbuster Coming to America staring Eddie Murphy.
In the film, Eddie Murphy plays an African Prince hoping to find love in America. Spoiler alert! After the extended visit to New York City, New York, not only does he find true love but develops an immense appreciation for American culture!
Trump’s experience in Saudi Arabia shares a similar comedic storyline. He falls in love with King Salman, develops an immense appreciation for Saudi Arabia and Muslim culture. However, the real comedy lies in Trump’s past tone regarding Muslims and the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
On December 7th 2015, Trump promises supporters “a total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States ”until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on”
On March 6th 2017, he signed an executive order on immigration. This blocked citizens of 6 Muslim countries (Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya) from entering the United States.
Trump’s twitter archives holds countless negative statements on Saudi Arabia such as, “Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries!” and “disgusting of Barak Obama to touch the Saudi orb. I would never touch the precious orb, despite its immense and alluring power.”
Despite the aforementioned harsh language, Trump’s speech to the leaders of 50 Muslim countries mentions the historic agreement that “the Kingdom will invest almost $400 billion in our two countries and create many thousands of jobs in America and Saudi Arabia. ”This landmark agreement includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defense purchase, ”and we will be sure to help our Saudi friends get a good deal from our great American defense companies.“
On top of that, going viral are pictures of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, Saudi King Salman, and President Trump touching the glowing orb.
What changed Trump’s opinion on the Kingdom? On March 14th 2017, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the White House. After the meeting Trump realized the two countries had similar interests, hence the beginning the new found respect.
Trump’s visit was the official stamp of approval regarding the revamped relationship between the two nations. The tone of his speech was optimistic, signifying the president’s genuine admiration for the King and the people of Saudi Arabia. He even went as far to mention King Salman’s goodwill in Israel during a conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Unfortunately, it is still unclear what this means for the Arab World and Arab Americans. Stay tuned!