RIYADH: Accompanying her husband on his first international trip, US first lady Melania Trump on Saturday stepped off of Air Force One conservatively dressed in long sleeves and pants but without a headscarf, potentially creating a stir in the conservative Islamic country.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) May 20, 2017
Instead, Trump’s below-the-shoulder brown hair blew freely in the breeze at King Khalid International Airport in the capital city of Riyadh.
Senior adviser and President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, travelling as part of the presidential entourage, was also seen not wearing an abaya (traditional robe).
Melania Trump followed the example of her predecessor Michelle Obama, who during a visit to the country in 2015, attended several public events without a headscarf, ABC News reported.
Michelle Obama did not cover her head when she accompanied then-President Barack Obama on a condolence visit in January 2015 after the death of King Abdullah. And during her time as first lady, Laura Bush generally went without covering her head, though she once briefly donned a head scarf she received as a gift.
Donald Trump criticised Ms Obama for appearing bare-headed in 2015. During the Obamas’ visit, Mr Trump tweeted, “Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs Obama refusing to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted. We have enuf enemies.”
Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted.We have enuf enemies
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 29, 2015
Now Trump’s long trail of Twitter messages comes back to haunt him.
Twitter reacted to Melinia Trump and criticised the US president for ‘double standards’ and hypocrisy when it came to his statements on Michelle Obama two years ago.
— Jack Mendel (@Mendelpol) May 20, 2017
Melania Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia without headscarf – two years after Donald criticised Michelle Obama
— James A (@Charmed11071966) May 20, 2017
Melania is not wearing a head scarf! Where is the outrage?! We HAVE TOO MANY ENEMIES! https://t.co/Ta9boxaYfd
— Cats Love Yoshikage Kira Nerys (@iamnotatwit) May 20, 2017
Fyi, Saudi Arabia doesn't mind foreigners not wearing a head scarf.
It was fine for Michelle and fine for Melania. https://t.co/PTglINnWNE
— Cuppa (@kiwim0n) May 20, 2017
Under the kingdom’s strict dress code for women, Saudi women and most female visitors are required to wear a loose, black robe, known as an abaya, in public. Most women in Saudi also cover their hair and face with a veil known as the niqab.
But covering one’s head is not required for foreigners, and some Western women choose to forego the headscarf while in Saudi Arabia.