Before leaving on their trip to Saudi Arabia, the First Lady was fully briefed on what, at least since the Obama administration, is considered “proper” etiquette when traveling to Muslim countries. But unlike both Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, the current First Lady chose to be an American, rather than an Islamic tool and forego the wearing of a head scarf upon arriving in Saudi Arabia Saturday morning.
While Mrs. Trump, did opt to wear long sleeves and pants which do conform to the strict dress code that Saudi Arabia enforces for its female citizens, a look that the first lady is very comfortable with, she did not cover her head and below-the-shoulder brown hair blew freely in the breeze at King Khalid International Airport in the capital city of Riyadh.
Both the former first lady Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton have been highly criticized for wearing a head-scarfs during visits to Muslim countries. And unlike Former President Obama, President Trump did not bow to the Saudi King and his court. That bow, during Obama’s “World Apology Tour” to many was the defining moment of the Obama Presidency. It left little doubt in the minds of most Americans as to Obama’s true feelings towards our country.
Hillary Clinton while Secretary of State, chose to wear a head scarf when dealing with Muslim leaders or visiting Islamic countries. Under the kingdom’s strict Islamic dress code for women, Saudi women and most female visitors are required to wear a loose, black robe, known as an abaya, in public. Most women in Saudi Arabia also cover their hair and face with a veil known as the niqab.
While covering one’s head is not required for foreign women, and some Western women choose to forego the headscarf, those that do are often subjected to verbal abuse by Islamic religious police while in Saudi Arabia. But most world leaders have staunchly refused to abide by the religious laws and earlier this year both British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shunned head coverings.
During her time as first lady, Laura Bush went without covering her head, though she once briefly donned a head scarf she received as a gift. President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, a senior White House adviser who is accompanying her father, also decided not cover her head. Saudi Arabia is the first stop on a four-nation, five-stop tour that will also take Trump to Israel, Italy and Belgium before President Trump returns to the White House at the end of next week. The first lady is joining the president for the entire trip.