US President Trump has left for his first foreign trip – a nine-day tour with stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium.
His tour is part of a worldwide effort to accommodate the US President on a trip with increasingly raised stakes given the recent controversies involving his the government’s possible ties to Russia.
White House aides are concerned how Trump will take to the pressures of foreign travel in such an intense amount of time.
“The chance of something going wrong – you insult the hosts, you get sick, your boss gets sick, you miscommunicate with your hosts, you make a scheduling error, you need to change the schedule just hours before a meeting, the motorcade get stuck in traffic, or the plane is stranded due to bad weather – is extremely high,” said Julianne Smith, senior fellow at the Center for New American Security.
“Personally, I think they should cut it back now before they regret it,” she said about the trip.
Nearly all of Trump’s senior White House officials will be travelling with him. Kellyanne Conway, the White House counsellor, will not be joining Trump and his team White House sources said.
The President’s first stop of the trip will be in Saudi Arabia to meet the country’s ruler King Salman as well as other members of the royal family. He then plans to go to the Arab Islamic American summit where he will deliver a speech on “the need to confront radical ideology” and his hopes for a “peaceful vision of Islam across the world”.
He will also meet with the Israeli President, the Pope and Emmanuel Macron, the new French President.
Trump will end his trip with Mr Gentiloni in Sicily ahead of the G7 summit on the Italian island.
This trip will be the first that Trump has taken since taking office where he has spent a night away from the White House at a property that doesn’t bear his name.