President Donald Trump attacked former President Barack Obama for “bowing” to foreign leaders during a rambling speech in Mesa, Arizona Friday evening.
“No more bowing,” Trump told the crowd. “Remember the bowing? I didn’t like it. Now you have a president that stands up and stands for the National Anthem.”
There’s just one problem with his claim: Trump bowed to Saudi leaders as they awarded him a medal. To make matters worse, Trump saluted a foreign general of an American adversary. During his trip to Singapore to speak with Kim Jong-Un, Trump saluted a general that was in the entourage.
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“If someone salutes you, your instinct is (probably) to return that salute,” wrote Matt Lewis, a conservative columnist for The Daily Beast. “This is to say Trump wasn’t being malicious; he was being played. This is now N.K. propaganda — the result of an unprepared president.”
The Trump White House has struggled with protocol when it comes to foreign meetings. When the president attended an event with Queen Elizabeth, for example, Trump walked in front of her, which is never done. It put the royal leader in an awkward position to figure out where she was supposed to go as Trump dodged left and right blocking her path.
Similarly, no one seems to be watching out for first lady Melania Trump on protocol either. Mrs. Trump has had multiple wardrobe missteps that disrespected locals in the United States and Africa.
Staff generally prepares the leaders for their foreign trips with information about the procedure and cultural differences. While the State Department has the staff to help the White House with something like this, the first lady’s staff has been cut dramatically, leaving her open to missteps.
The legend of the “Obama bow” came while visiting with the Japanese Emperor. Bowing in Japan is a cultural greeting.
Watch the video of Trump in Mesa below (at the 1:23:27 mark)