U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia has made headlines for many reasons, from finalizing a sale of $110 billion in arms to Trump dancing and Melania Trump not covering her hair when meeting King. The latest of which is a swirling debate about whether or not Trump bowed to Saudi Arabia's 81-year-old King Salman. An ordinary gesture that would not be headline worthy, except for the fact that Donald Trump had accused President Obama of showing weakness and selling out the U.S. by bowing to foreign leaders, including King Salman.
The controversial bowing took place during a ceremony at the grand Saudi Royal Court, when the king awarded Trump the Collar of Abdulaziz al Saud, the theocracy's highest civilian honor.
Trump bent down so the king could place the gold medal around his neck. Saudi Arabia has previously bestowed the honor on Russian President Vladimir Putin, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Obama.
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Trump bending down can only loosely be interpreted as a bow, as Trump clearly need to lower himself inorder for the shorter King to place the medal around Trump's neck. The same observation was made when Obama allegedly bowed to the King. "It wasn't a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he's taller,” Politico reported in 2009.
President George H.W. Bush had done the same thing to a dead Japanese emperor, as the New York Times noted. And the second President Bush diplomatically kissed and held hands with Saudi royalty.