US to announce $110 billion Saudi arms sale as Trump visits

While Washington digs into why President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and what a new special counsel at the Justice Department will try to learn about Trump associates and Russian Federation, the president is jetting off. Trump will try to leave his troubles behind him tomorrow as he departs on the first foreign trip of his presidency.

Trump's extraordinarily dense first trip - six stops in eight days, and countless face-to-face meetings from Saudi King Salman to Pope Francis via France's new leader, Emmanuel Macron - is fraught with perils for the president. "I think President Trump's standing at home definitely will be a factor in the perceptions of friends and allies overseas, and in how they interact with him".

In Israel, Ivanka Trump - who converted to Judaism when she married husband Jared Kushner - will visit the Western Wall with the president.

CORNISH: That's NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith.

But as the Republican takes his first steps as head of state on the world stage, his every word, action and tweet will be under the microscope.

"President Trump understands that America First does not mean American alone - to the contrary", insisted his national security advisor, H.R. McMaster.

Trump's reported griping about the length of his trip, and the fact that he has been severely distracted during his preparation time this week by the Russian Federation storm, raises the stakes even more.

The President embarks on a journey Friday to Saudi Arabia, Israel and global summits in Italy and Belgium, after one of the most tumultuous and damaging weeks any President has had to endure.

The combination of tough talk on Shiite Iran, a lower-profile focus on human rights, and the likely announcement of new arms deals should in theory earn Trump a warm welcome.

But the most striking moment of Trump's visit to the kingdom will be his speech about Islam, given his critical campaign rhetoric and attempt to impose a temporary entry ban on residents of a number of Muslim nations soon after taking office.

World leaders, however, are less likely to be interested in the details of Trump's political woes than they are keen to gauge the impact of his "America First" policies on their nations, regions and alliances.

"What President Trump is seeking is to unite peoples of all faiths around a common vision of peace, progress and prosperity", he told reporters. He is to meet with Pope Francis in Rome, attend a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, and participate in the G-7 summit in Sicily. Trump goes to Brussels next Thursday for a summit with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders, who he's accused of not paying an adequate share for their common defense, and to an economic summit in Sicily where Trump's nationalist trade policies are bound to be a topic of discussion. He has since said and done things suggesting maybe.

"I think he needs to keep his mind on what is going to be a very important trip", said former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, a Democrat, on CNN's "New Day" on Thursday.

Here are 5 objectives to watch for as Trump goes overseas.

How his trip is perceived by fellow Americans is key for the president.

Latest News