President Donald Trump walks down the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., Wednesday, May 17, 2017. Trump went to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., where he gave the commencement address. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Here's how the world will make sure Donald Trump is happy in his first trip abroad

Give him his happy food. Placate him by talking about his Electoral College win. That's what Trump wants


Jeremy Binckes
May 19, 2017 12:38PM (UTC)

President Donald Trump has been preparing all week for his first trip outside the United States. He's been studying maps and looking at memos that have his name mentioned in "as many paragraphs" as possible. And so, as Trump prepares to depart for Saudi Arabia — which is really, really excited about the presidential visit — host nations are scrambling to make sure that Trump won't feel too, well, abroad.

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Even though the president will be in the Middle East, he will still be given his own special meals, the Associated Press reported:

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In Saudi Arabia, people with knowledge of the planning for Trump’s trip say the caterers are planning to offer the president steak and ketchup alongside the lamb and hefty portions of rice on the menu. All the meat will have been butchered in a Shariah-compliant halal manner as per Islamic custom.

The AP attributed this to Trump's "homebody" status. Since beginning his campaign in 2015, Trump has gone abroad exactly once: to Scotland, where he opened a Trump-branded golf resort. Since the November election he has  slept in exactly four places: his home at Trump Tower in New York, the White House, his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and his golf club in New Jersey. The AP reasons it this way: "Staffers know his meal preferences and the exact temperature he likes a room set at. He’s often surrounded by long-time friends and acquaintances who have memberships to the commander in chief-owned retreats." But to observers, Trump's preferences are all too familiar:

 

Trump's trip abroad won't focus on any boring things like history. Instead, countries will be chatting with him about his favorite topic — his big, huge win. The New York Times explains:

After four months of interactions between Mr. Trump and his counterparts, foreign officials and their Washington consultants say certain rules have emerged: Keep it short — no 30-minute monologue for a 30-second attention span. Do not assume he knows the history of the country or its major points of contention. Compliment him on his Electoral College victory. Contrast him favorably with President Barack Obama. Do not get hung up on whatever was said during the campaign. Stay in regular touch. Do not go in with a shopping list but bring some sort of deal he can call a victory.

There's one thing that pretty clearly won't be discussed: human rights. When Obama visited the region in 2009, he "made an appeal to the Muslim world promoting self-determination, democracy and individual rights," Reuters noted. Don't expect Trump to make a similar appeal, especially as those nations have notably been curbing opposition of late.

And the president, who on the campaign trail hit Hillary Clinton for being "low-energy," has his team building "daily downtime into his otherwise jam-packed schedule," the AP noted.

At least the president will have his family with him when he leaves Friday afternoon. That includes daughter and son-in-law Ivanka and Jared Kushner, who got permission from their rabbi to fly on Air Force One on Friday evening, when the Jewish sabbath begins.


Jeremy Binckes

Jeremy Binckes is the senior news editor at Salon.com.

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