National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster Previews Trump’s First Trip Abroad as President

By Melanie Arter | May 12, 2017 | 6:38pm EDT
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster (Screenshot of C-SPAN video)

( - National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Friday that President Donald Trump’s first trip abroad as president will be “truly historic,” because “no president has ever visited the homelands and holy sites of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths all on one trip.”

The president’s trip has three core purposes, according to McMaster. “First, to reaffirm America's global leadership. Second, to continue building key relationships with world leaders, and third, to broadcast a message of unity to America's friends and to the faithful of three of the world's greatest religions,” he said.


Trump will first visit Saudi Arabia, “home to the two holiest sites in Islam,” McMaster said. “He will encourage our Arab and Muslim partners to take bold, new steps to promote peace and to confront those, from ISIS to al Qaeda to Iran to the Assad regime, who perpetuate chaos and violence that has inflicted so much suffering throughout the Muslim world and beyond.”

Trump “will lead the first steps toward a stronger, more capable, and more robust security partnership with our Gulf, Arab, and Muslim partners,” he said.

The president “will develop a strong, respectful message that the United States and the entire civilized world expects our Muslim allies to take a strong stand against radical Islamist ideology, an ideology that uses a perverted interpretation of religion to justify crimes against all humanity.”

The president will also call on Muslim leaders to “promote a peaceful vision of Islam.”

From there, the president will travel to Israel where he will meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “reaffirm America's unshakeable bond to the Jewish state.”

With Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Trump “will express his desire for dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians, and so to leaders and peoples alike, across the entire trip, he will demonstrate his hopes for a just and lasting peace.”

The president will then travel to Rome, where he will meet with Pope Francis to pay his respects and discuss religious freedom. He’s also talk about “ways to combat religious persecution, human trafficking, and cooperating on humanitarian missions across the globe.”

“He will also pay his respects to the Italian people by meeting with President Mattarella, the head of state and one of America's most important treaty allies and trading partners. He will also see again Prime Minister Gentiloni, who is hosting the G7 conference in Sicily,” McMaster said.

“From Rome, the president will continue to Brussels for the NATO Leaders meeting. There, he will reaffirm America's commitment to the alliance while stressing the need for members to pay their fair share, to shoulder responsibility, to share burdens, and for the institution to continue on the path of strengthening the alliance,” McMaster said.

“President Trump will end his trip in Sicily for the G7 meeting in Taormina, where he will promote American economic leadership and also address unfair trade practices. He will remind our friends and partners that we are eager to explore further ways to address threats to our mutual security, from North Korea to Afghanistan to the broader Middle East,” McMaster added.

“This trip is truly historic. No president has ever visited the homelands and holy sites of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslims faiths all on one trip. And what President Trump is seeking is to unite peoples of all faiths around a common vision of peace, progress, and prosperity. He will bring a message of tolerance and of hope to billions, including to millions of Americans who profess these faiths,” he said. “The president will focus on what unites us.”

Before returning to the U.S., the president will “visit Naval Air Station Sigonella, where he will thank our wonderful and courageous servicemen and women, ally personnel and family members for their sacrifices to keep us safe. And across the trip, he will meet our diplomats, the staff at our embassies who represent us so well across the world,” McMaster said.

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