- Title: Embroiled in controversies, Trump seeks boost on foreign trip
- Date: 18th May 2017
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (MAY 17, 2017) (REUTERS) WIDE SHOT HEATHER HURLBURT, FOREIGN POLICY EXPERT AT NEW AMERICA (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEATHER HURLBURT, FOREIGN POLICY EXPERT AT NEW AMERICA, SAYING: "Well if the president had wanted to set up an environment in which the whole world would be hanging on everything he said as he goes on this trip, he could hardly have done, have done more than this. You know, obviously the White House, the whole plan for this trip was a reset to present the president not just as a strong leader but somebody in their words who could 'unite the different Abrahamic faiths'. Instead, what he's going to see - certainly in Europe and Israel - is press both from the U.S. and from the countries where he's visiting, hounding him, asking him all kinds of questions really pushing at him. Also, of course, lots of questions from the leaders that he's meeting with. So, I mean, other than Saudi Arabia where I think the government will keep the press away from him, it's going to be hard changing the subject."
- Embargoed: 1st June 2017 22:20
- Keywords: Palestinians Israel Saudi Arabia G7 NATO first foreign trip President Donald Trump
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C. / JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES / ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND / PARIS, FRANCE / IN AIR / JERUSALEM / TAORMINA, ITALY / VATICAN
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C. / JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES / ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND / PARIS, FRANCE / IN AIR / JERUSALEM / TAORMINA, ITALY / VATICAN
- Country: USA
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0026HDAB7R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Besieged by controversy at home, U.S. President Donald Trump is under pressure to stick to the script and avoid fresh flare-ups when he embarks this week on his first foreign trip, a nine-day trek to the Middle East and Europe.
White House officials and Republicans close to the administration say Trump, who campaigned on an "America First" slogan, wants to demonstrate leadership abroad on his visit with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia, Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Israel and the West Bank, the pope at the Vatican, NATO leaders in Brussels and G7 counterparts in Sicily.
Trump faces fierce criticism over his sharing of sensitive national security information with Russian officials and his firing last week of FBI Director James Comey. Allegations that he previously asked Comey to end an investigation into his former national security adviser drew a new round of attacks on Tuesday.
Airing his frustrations on Twitter, Trump has lashed out at leaks to the news media from officials inside his administration. Confidants say a staff shake-up is possible, although major changes are unlikely before Trump's foreign trip.
His political woes will add to Trump's challenges as he tries to bolster ties abroad.
Some doubt whether Trump, a businessman-turned politician who never held elective office before becoming president in January, is ready for a smooth presidential debut abroad.
One Republican official, who requested anonymity in order to speak freely, said after meeting Trump recently he did not think the president had a firm enough grasp on the nuances of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
White House advisers insisted Trump was up to speed on the Middle East, having already hosted Arab, Israeli and Palestinian leaders at the White House.
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