Trump, dogged by questions at home, makes first trip abroad


Instead, the problems stemming from Trump's dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, his reported disclosure of highly classified information to Russian officials and his alleged urging of Comey to end his investigation into now-fired national security adviser Michael Flynn seem destined to shadow him as he travels overseas for the first time. Trump's first trip is much farther from home. Trump is a collegial character who has spent extended time socializing with some visiting foreign leaders so he might actually enjoy the interaction.

If you'd never considered Donald Trump the potential bridge between the world's religions, think again.

When Trump lands in Europe he will be greeted with some suspicion, given his critical rhetoric about North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and antipathy towards the European Union displayed by some of his political advisers.

Catchphrases aside, many questions remain unanswered. "If he performs poorly, it will add fuel to the fire".

On Monday, a second interruption emerged: the revelation that Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials, who visited him in the Oval Office last week.

Timothy Simons said the unnamed official "has GOTTA be" Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and one of his senior advisors.

"The President is going to the Middle East to let our friends know we are back and to let our enemies know we are back", said David Urban, who ran the President's successful Pennsylvania campaign and worked with his transition team, on CNN.

Then came the damning blow from the official, who the Daily Beast revealed worked on Trump's campaign: "I don't see how Trump isn't completely fucked".

This trip will take the president out of his comfort zone.

After his tour of religious sites, the President will head to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels and the G7 in Sicily. Trump, whose denunciations of Iran have been welcomed by the Saudis, wants to frame the conflict not as one between the West and Islam, but simply between good and evil, according to his aides.

An unnamed source told Politico that Lewandowski is also talking about how he has helped "broker" conversations between the White House and possible new staffers.

Earlier this month, an administration official portrayed the decision to first visit Saudi Arabia - home to two of Islam's holiest sites, Mecca and Medina - as symbolic.

But a political uproar in Washington over Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey, allegations that he pressed Comey to stop investigating former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and the subsequent appointment of a special counsel to look into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and potential ties with Trump's campaign threaten to overshadow his trip.

He has since said and done things suggesting maybe. Officials are anxious that Mr Trump's lack of focus and attention to detail could cause problems as he visits Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia, Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Israel and the West Bank, the pope at the Vatican, NATO leaders in Brussels and G7 counterparts in Sicily.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will accompany Trump for most of the itinerary, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Tuesday.

Then there is the treacherous nature of the issues he must confront, from Middle Eastern power politics, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the future of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation which he savaged on the campaign trail and European concern about the impact of his protectionist trade policies. But now, Mr Trump must go forward with his plans if only because not doing so would reinforce a sense of crisis.

"President Trump understands that America First does not mean America alone, to the contrary", McMaster said.

That may depend largely on Mr Trump himself.

Staff members are being forced to strategically include the President's name in the reports to ensure that he keeps reading and doesn't get distracted, they said.