In search of a brand new narrative, Trump embarks on journey to Center East and Europe | Reuters


By Jeff Mason
| WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON With turmoil enveloping his administration at dwelling, President Donald Trump heads overseas on Friday for a visit the White Home hopes will shift focus away from home controversies and on to his overseas coverage agenda.

Trump leaves for Saudi Arabia on Friday afternoon and can make stops subsequent week in Israel, Belgium and Italy. The journey was billed as an opportunity to go to locations sacred to a few of the world’s main religions whereas creating face time with Arab, Israeli and European leaders.

However a political uproar in Washington over Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey, allegations that he pressed Comey to cease investigating former nationwide safety adviser Michael Flynn, and the next appointment of a particular counsel to look into allegations of Russian meddling within the 2016 election and potential ties with Trump’s marketing campaign threaten to overshadow his journey.

“We look ahead to getting this entire scenario behind us,” the Republican president instructed a information convention on the White Home on Thursday.

The sojourn overseas, his first overseas journey since taking workplace in January, could or could not assist.

Trump is anticipated to be welcomed warmly by leaders in Riyadh and Jerusalem, however lingering questions over his views on the Iran nuclear deal, dedication to NATO safety and skepticism of the Paris local weather settlement might generate stress at conferences with European counterparts in Brussels and Sicily.

“It is virtually at all times true that when a president goes on an enormous overseas journey, particularly one which has some essential summits … that dominates the information and knocks most different stuff out,” stated Republican strategist Charlie Black.

“Whether or not accidentally or design, this may assist him by way of Russia information for some time.”

‘MESSAGE OF UNITY’

The White Home laid out three functions for the journey: reaffirming U.S. management globally, constructing relationships with world leaders and broadcasting “a message of unity to America’s mates and to the trustworthy of three of the world’s best religions,” stated nationwide safety adviser H.R. McMaster.

“What President Trump is searching for is to unite peoples of all faiths round a standard imaginative and prescient of peace, progress and prosperity,” he instructed reporters.

Trump generated controversy as a presidential candidate together with his name that Muslims be banned briefly from getting into the US. His administration’s proposal to restrict journey from a number of Muslim-majority nations is tied up in courtroom.

McMaster stated Trump would ship a speech in Saudi Arabia expressing hope peaceable imaginative and prescient of Islam would resonate worldwide.

The nationwide safety adviser, who publicly defended Trump this week towards allegations that he improperly shared intelligence data with Russian International Minister Sergei Lavrov throughout an Oval Workplace assembly, has rather a lot using on the journey himself.

“He’s already on skinny ice after his try and defend the president’s dialogue of intelligence with the Russians, and he urged the president to do that journey, which can have been a nasty thought,” stated one U.S. official. “It’s too lengthy and covers an excessive amount of floor and too many subjects. If it goes badly, regardless of who’s fault it’s, it will likely be H.R.’s.”

Though he saved a grueling schedule as a presidential candidate, Trump is keen on being dwelling at evening, usually flying again to New York after marketing campaign occasions to sleep in his personal mattress. The nine-day journey shall be his longest since turning into president.

(Extra reporting by Steve Holland and John Walcott; Enhancing by Peter Cooney)

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