Steak, swords, and an orb to rule them all: The strangest moments from Trump’s first foray overseas
United States President Donald Trump is on his way back from his first trip overseas, and it doesn’t seem he caused an international incident of terrible significance.
The trip was, however, full of embarrassing, awkward things.
We’ve collected some of the weirdest, most Trumpian moments from Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, and beyond below. So let’s relive his first big boy trip abroad from the very beginning.
If my helicopter can’t go, neither can I
Trump canceled a planned speech in Israel before he even got there because his helicopter wasn’t allowed to land on a UNESCO World Heritage site. Yes, really.
The president had planned to speak atop the Masada, a fort on top of a mountain. Presidents have in the past ridden a cable car to the top, but Trump was apparently insistent on taking his helicopter. A chopper could have damaged the fortress were it allowed to land, and the impasse led to a cancelation. Off to a good start.
Please bring steak and ketchup
Look at that lovely brown-red orb.
Trump loves it when steak is cooked to the consistency and feel of asphalt, and he likes to eat that steak dunked in good ol’ American ketchup. Lots of folks enjoy eating local food when they travel, but Trump made sure Saudi Arabia was ready with his steak and ketchup, lest he be forced to eat something as exotic as, say, rice.
I want to hold your hand (part one)
Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) May 22, 2017
Newly arrived in Israel, First Lady Melania Trump was not about to hold her husband’s hand. The incident was filmed and the world, uh, noticed.
Sword dance with me
President Trump joined Saudi King Salman in a traditional sword dance in Riyadh. pic.twitter.com/jFVi1HUUZc
Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 21, 2017
Saudi Arabia greeted Trump with a traditional sword dance known as the ardah, which marks special occasions such as holidays and marriage ceremonies.
The president got a sword of his own and smiled a smile that says “I don’t take ecstasy but this is probably what my face would look like if I did.”
Trump embraced a glowing orb alongside Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the king of Saudi Arabia, at the opening ceremony for Riyadh’s Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology.
What is there to say that has not already been memed?
The Church of Satan also made sure to let the world know that the three world leaders were not taking part in a Satanic ritual.
Donald Trump doesn’t shake hands so much as demonstrate how one might slice through a log with a hacksaw. He likes to yank his handshake partner to his chest. It’s an awkward power move, but perhaps less awkward than when it doesn’t work, as in the above gif of Trump conceding a tie in his little tug-of-war with Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon.
The world seems to be catching up to Trump’s meet-and-greet antics. Days after this squeezefest took place, Trump met with newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron was prepared.
You may have noticed the whitening of their knuckles, and how Trump’s hand goes limp at the end.
Also, it happened again.
Macron blows off Trump, Trump responds by trying to rip his arm off? This is insane. pic.twitter.com/cPlPg7N72X
Calvin (@calvinstowell) May 25, 2017
Handshake diplomacy in action.
I just want to hold your hand (part two)
Yo Melania is really not with holding his hand though. pic.twitter.com/Pc5r4hRZby
Travon Free (@Travon) May 23, 2017
The fanboi selfie
Israeli member of parliament Oren Hazan was not supposed to be on the scene in Tel Aviv when Air Force One landed to start Trump’s brief tour of Israel, but Hazan is what one might call a Trump superfan, so he found a way.
Hazan follows only Trump on Twitter, and as superfans are wont to do when they see the object of their fandom in the wild, he leapt at his idol and whipped out his smartphone for a selfie.
Trump’s expression makes him look like Justin Bieber after 500 fan photos. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was less than thrilled that a member of his nation’s government was geeking out with his camera out.
Writing is hard
Yad Vashem is also known as the World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
Trump left a note that read, “It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends.”
President Barack Obama’s note, when he visited as a presidential candidate in 2008, was somewhat more pertinent, as was pointed out on the Twitters.
Photographers took many photos of the Trumps when they met the Pope on stop number three of Trump’s tour, but the one that burned its way through the interwebs featured a radiant Donald alongside a funeral-ready Melania and Ivanka and a pope who looks like he is questioning the existence of God. It was dark enough to get hashtag memed.
The pope also gave Trump a copy of his climate change encyclical, a clear shot at Trump’s disdain for policies that address climate change.
But, as with many photo-based memes, it’s not as if the Pope didn’t smile at all when he met the president. The whole affair seemed like a normal interaction between the head of the Catholic church and a head of state.
Then again, the pope might have called Trump fat?
And when Trump told Francis it was a “very great honor” to meet him, the Pope said nothing…
Out of my way
On Thursday, Trump pushed aside Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic to get his spot at the front of the group of NATO leaders for a photograph.
The White House explained it away as a “casual greeting.” You can judge for yourself in the video above.
‘Germans are bad/evil’
Depending on how you translate a comment Trump reportedly made, the president called Germans one of those aforementioned words, which is not great.
He was talking about Germany’s giant trade surplus with the U.S. “Look at the millions of cars they’re selling in the U.S.,” Trump said. “We will stop that.”
Trump has for months wanted to negotiate unilateral trade agreements with Germany, but the president has been repeatedly reminded that the U.S. negotiates trade agreements with the E.U. as a whole, and should look at the German trade surplus in that light.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters that Trump’s comments weren’t as harsh as they might have seemed.
Hooray again! Another international tiff averted. Now Trump can come home, where fresh news of potential Russian government ties to his administration has grown like weeds in a garden left untended by his absence. Should be great!