David Ignatius: Trump Sends ‘Powerful’ Message to Muslim World

By Susan Jones | May 22, 2017 | 8:41am EDT
Muslim leaders from more than 50 nations listen to President Donald Trump speak in Saudi Arabia on May 21, 2017. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

(CNSNews.com) - When President Obama spoke to the Muslim world in Cairo, Egypt, eight years ago, his tone was, “I’m going to speak to my enemies,” liberal Washington Post columnist David Ignatius told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday.’

Ignatius said President Trump spoke very differently when he addressed Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia yesterday:

Trump’s tone is, I'm going to hold on to my friends. And if you’re my friend, you can depend on me. And that's a message that's powerful.


These friends are autocrats, yes, they represent a lot of negative trends. But I have felt for years that if the Sunni countries could feel more secure, could build themselves back up -- We’ve seen this enormous rise of Iran, self-confidence, outward expansion. If the Sunnis had a little more confidence, there’s a little more balance in the region, some things might be possible that would be positive.

Former President Obama, in his June 2009 speech, told Muslim leaders, “We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world.”

Obama said he came to Cairo to “seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition.”

Obama urged the U.S. and the Muslim world to "listen to each other...to respect one another." He talked about “violent extremists,” not terrorists; and he also lectured Muslims on their treatment of women.

President Trump on Sunday told Muslim leaders he came to Saudi Arabia “to deliver a message of friendship and hope.”

“To the leaders and citizens of every country assembled here today, I want you to know that the United States is eager to form closer bonds of friendship, security, culture and commerce,” Trump said.

“We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership -- based on shared interests and values -- to pursue a better future for us all.”

Trump also announced that he signed “historic agreements” with the Saudi to invest in each other’s countries, including a $110 billion Saudi purchase from U.S. defense contractors.

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