Donald Trump on a high-stakes trip

AGENCIES
Published May 20, 2017, 2:17 am IST
Updated May 20, 2017, 2:18 am IST
Daughter Ivanka will join the President for six days of the nine-day visit.
Donald Trump (Photo: AP)
 Donald Trump (Photo: AP)

President Donald Trump’s maiden international trip, a five-stop marathon across the Middle East and Europe, has long loomed as a crucial first test abroad for the chaos-courting President.

That was before he fired his FBI director — and the chain reaction of scandal that followed. Now, with the eyes of the world upon him, the President will embark on his big trip carrying the baggage of dire troubles at home. As he tries to calm allies worried about his “America First” message, he’ll be followed by fallout from his firing of FBI director James Comey and the appointment of a special counsel to probe his campaign’s ties with Russia.

“There has never been a President taking his first international trip being dogged by scandal like this,” said Larry Sabato, head of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “He’s already a President viewed skeptically by much of the world. And while the pictures from the trip may be great, the White House can’t change the headlines that will follow him wherever he goes.”

For some senior officials who have lost the President’s confidence, the tour may be a final chance to save their jobs, the CNN reported. “It’s kind of do-or-die,” said one official, referring both to the staff and stakes for the President.

The itinerary, which begins Saturday in Saudi Arabia, is a startlingly ambitious excursion for a president who dislikes travel and has displayed a shaky grasp of foreign affairs.

He tweeted on Friday morning: “Getting ready for my big foreign trip. Will be strongly protecting American interests —that’s what I like to do!”Each stop comes with high stakes.

Ivanka to travel
Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka will travel with the President to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Italy. Ivanka Trump is a senior adviser to the President. A White House adviser says that Ivanka Trump will be along for six days of the nine-day trip. She’ll join her father for some events and also hold some of her own. The official insisted on anonymity in order to discuss planning details. The official says in Saudi Arabia, Ivanka Trump will take part in a roundtable to discuss women’s economic issues.

Ivanka converted to Judaism when she married Jared Kushner. The official says in Israel, she will visit the Western Wall and in Rome, she will discuss human trafficking.


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