RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — President Trump touched down in this Middle Eastern kingdom on Saturday morning as he sought to escape, if just briefly, the scandals and the chaos that have engulfed his administration back home.
Against a stark desert backdrop, Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, emerged from Air Force One just before 10 Saturday morning. He was greeted on a long red carpet by King Salman, who was leaning on a cane, and other members of the Saudi monarchy.
Mrs. Trump stood near her husband with her hair uncovered, in the tradition of previous American first ladies. The country’s tradition is for Saudi women to cover their heads in public. (In 2015, Mr. Trump criticized Michelle Obama on Twitter for not wearing a head scarf during an official visit here. Hillary Clinton and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany alsodid not cover their hair during trips to the country.)
Flanked by Saudi military personnel standing at attention and alternating Saudi and American flags, Mr. Trump and the king exchanged a brief handshake and a few pleasantries as trumpets blared, cannons boomed and seven Saudi jets streaked through the sky, streaming red, white and blue smoke.
“Very happy to see you,” the king said.
“It’s a great honor,” Mr. Trump replied, before he was offered a bouquet of flowers from Saudi girls.
The two leaders posed for photos while seated in the Royal Hall at the airport’s terminal before getting into a motorcade to head to a series of meetings. Aides said Mr. Trump had spent most of the flight from Washington, which took 12 hours and 20 minutes, meeting with staff, reading newspapers and working on his speech. He got very little sleep, they said.