How Trump just greeted Saudi Arabia’s king is remarkably different than how Obama did in 2009

When President Donald Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia’s capital of Riyadh on Saturday to begin his first foreign trip as president, he was greeted with a red carpet and grandeur.

But the way Trump greeted Saudi royalty, specifically Saudi Arabian King Salman, is remarkably different than how former President Barack Obama greeted then-Saudi King Abdullah during a G-20 conference in London in 2009.

Video shows that once Trump and first lady Melania Trump disembarked Air Force One Saturday at the Riyadh airport, they were immediately met by King Salman and what appears to be a translator. Then, video shows Trump and Salman shaking hands.

However, when Obama greeted Saudi officials at the international meeting in 2009, video showed Obama appearing to bow to then-King Abdullah, breaking with official State Department policy that advises the U.S. president to not bow to any world leaders.

The apparent bow led to days of controversy back in the U.S., while then-Obama White House officials tried to quell concerns and outrage coming from the conservative media. Then-White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was even grilled over the incident by a reporter from CNN.

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Gibbs and other White House staff denied that Obama bowed. One White House official tried to excuse Obama’s apparent bow as something that happened because Obama was taller than Abdullah.

“It wasn’t a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he’s taller than King Abdullah,” the anonymous Obama White House staffer told Politico at the time.

Meanwhile, Saudi news outlets praised Obama’s apparent bow as a sign of respect to the Saudi monarch, Politico reported.

Stories also circulated Saturday that noted Melania and Ivanka Trump did not wear traditional Islamic headscarfs known as the “hijab” while in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. However, they did wear long sleeves and pants in keeping with the Islamic country’s strict dress code for women.

Other former first ladies, such as Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, also didn’t wear the headscarf while in Saudi Arabia with their husbands.

During Trump’s 9-day international trip, he will also make stops in Israel, Italy and Belgium. Melania will accompany Trump for the entire trip, while Ivanka is expected to only accompany her father for six days.

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