Trump Arrives in Saudi Arabia
King Salman gives him nation's highest civilian honor
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2017 8:25 AM CDT
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Saudi King Salman presents President Donald Trump with The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal at the Royal Court Palace, Saturday, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – President Trump, in the first stop of his maiden trip abroad, received a regal welcome Saturday in Saudi Arabia, feted by the wealthy kingdom as he aims to forge strong alliances to combat terrorism while pushing past the multiple controversies threatening to engulf his administration. Trump arrived in Riyadh after an overnight flight and was welcomed at elaborate airport ceremony punctuated by a military flyover and a handshake from Saudi King Salman, the AP reports. He is the only US president to make Saudi Arabia, or any majority Muslim country, his first stop overseas. After Air Force One touched down, the 81-year-old King Salman was brought to the steps of the plane in a golf cart.

At a later ceremony at the grand Saudi Royal Court, the king placed the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud, the nation's highest civilian honor, around Trump's neck. The medal, given to Trump for his efforts to strengthen ties in the region, has also been bestowed on leaders includig Vladimir Putin, Theresa May, and Barack Obama. 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. On Sunday, he'll hold meetings with more than 50 Arab and Muslim leaders converging on Riyadh for a regional summit focused largely on combating the ISIS and other extremist groups

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