Politics Trump departs for his first foreign trip

23:06  19 may  2017
23:06  19 may  2017 Source:   thehill.com

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President Trump set off Friday for his first foreign trip as president, a nine-day, five-stop tour of the Middle East and Europe that comes amid turmoil at home. A jovial-looking Trump waved and gave a

President Trump departed on Air Force One Friday for his first foreign trip . Ivanka Trump , Jared Kushner and first lady Melania Trump accompanied the president, along with other advisers. Trump will spend the next eight days traveling to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Brussels.

Trump departs for first foreign trip: President Trump's foreign tour begins in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. © Provided by The Hill President Trump's foreign tour begins in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

President Trump set off Friday for his first foreign trip, a nine-day, five-stop tour of the Middle East and Europe that comes amid turmoil at home.

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A jovial-looking Trump waved and gave a thumbs-up to the press and staff on the South Lawn before taking off on Marine One en route to Joint Base Andrews for his overseas flight.

He was accompanied by first lady Melania Trump; his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner; chief of staff Reince Priebus and longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller.

Trump is the first president since Jimmy Carter not to take a foreign trip during his first 100 days in office. The president, who is known as a homebody, has reportedly been dreading the journey.

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WASHINGTON (AFP) — From Riyadh to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Rome, Brussels and Sicily, Donald Trump left a swirl of domestic woes behind Friday as he embarked on a first foreign trip that will be closely watched in capitals the world over.

President Donald Trump departed for his first foreign trip as president on Friday, leaving for the Middle East and Europe shortly before a pair of stories were published that drew fresh attention to the controversy surrounding possible connections between his campaign and Russian officials.

The ambitious schedule begins trip begins on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, where he plans to meet with Gulf Arab allies and deliver a high-stakes speech on Islamic extremism.

He'll also make a stop in Israel, where the thorny Mideast peace process looms, before traveling to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis, who has been critical of his policies. He'll end his trip with summit meetings with NATO allies and leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

Trump said in a Friday morning tweet he's excited for the trip: "Getting ready for my big foreign trip. Will be strongly protecting American interests - that's what I like to do!"

The president's trip will be shadowed by the growing controversy at home over his campaign's alleged ties to Russia.

Trump's abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey last week set off a firestorm in Washington that resulted in the appointment of a special counsel to oversee the probe. The situation has dashed hopes in the White House that the trip could have served as a reset for Trump's chaos-filled presidency.

Meanwhile, Trump is hurriedly trying to find a replacement for Comey. Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) emerged as the front-runner for the job in recent days. But the White House said an announcement wouldn't be made before Trump's departure.

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