Trump has done a huge turnaround from his hard-line rhetoric against Middle Eastern countries. The travel ban on six countries, all Middle Eastern, sparked widespread protests and still has to pass muster with the courts who have chosen to put a block on it for now. Instead, of mulling over the block with a glum look on his face, the president chose to play his "Trump" card, hyping the charm offensive and pledging to work alongside Middle Eastern countries adding, "Instead, we are here to offer partnership based on shared interests and values - to pursue a better future for us all." The applause was loud but it came mainly from his own contingent. He implored Muslim leaders to, "Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities," referring to terrorists of Middle Eastern origin and declared Islam as, "one of the world's great faiths." However, he was smart enough to keep his, "Islam hates us," rhetoric out of his speech and that was enough to clinch a more than warm welcome from the Saudis and a sword-dance like no other.
The ceremonial sword-dance took place on Saturday outside the Murabba Palace and it gave the president and his men a chance to "get down" and who cared if they had rhythm or not! Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the president bounced and moved to the music with Cheshire cat-like grins plastered on their faces. That helped put a new face on Middle Eastern politics and the controversies back home were put on the back-burner for the time-being.
Back home, praise is being heaped on the president for his speech, his measured tone, his ability to keep his "loose lips" in check and the way he has embraced Muslim leaders with diplomacy. Today, Trump arrived in Israel and once again to pomp and circumstance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enthusiastically whispering, "Welcome, my good friend." Will it be another re-run of the Saudi success meeting? Perhaps, but probably without the sword-dance. Thank God for small blessings!