Obama never did anything like this.
President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he intends to embark on a religion tour of sorts, starting on May 19, to visit the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, the Israeli capital of Jerusalem and the Italian capital of Rome so as to promote religious tolerance and unity against the threat of religious extremism.
Moreover, during his time in Jerusalem the president plans to “offer details on his vision for a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace,” according to The Jerusalem Post.
“You have to try something — you have to take shots,” an unnamed official reportedly said of the president’s plan to seek peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. “This is what we think is a very smart first step in the region, in unifying the coalition.”
And unlike former President Barack Obama, Trump seemingly really believed in unity. Consider that when Obama made his first foreign trip in June 2009, he visited Saudi Arabia but not Israel. And instead of speaking privately with world leaders, he delivered a grandiose speech in Egypt.
“Obama’s approach was to build support with the Arab public through his Cairo speech,” Martin S. Indyk, the executive vice president of the Brookings Institution, explained to The New York Times. “Trump’s approach is to deal with the Arab leaders, not speak to their people, which is much more comfortable for the leaders.”
It seemed like Obama cared more about drumming up personal favor among Arabs than about actually resolving any of the Middle East’s plethora of crises. For the record, he only exacerbated the situation there during his tenure.
What’s more, Trump has also agreed to meet with Pope Francis in Rome, according to USA Today, officials at the Vatican have pledged that no limits will be placed on what the two may discuss.
Afterward the president intends to attend a NATO meeting in Brussels and then take part in the G7 summit in Sicility.
Whether or not anything fruitful will come out of the president’s religion tour remains to be seen, though one thing is clear — unlike Obama, Trump takes this seriously.
“These are not going to be the traditional state visits like you’ve seen — these are really working visits,” one official explained, according to the Post.
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