Trump’s first foreign trip, in May, was to Saudi Arabia, where he announced his administration’s plans to move forward with a new trade deal with the kingdom.
Then, on June 16, the president was to the Vatican, where Pope Francis gave a speech in which he said the United States is not a superpower but an indispensable partner for global security.
In Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, the Vatican was a crucial source of information about the incoming Trump administration.
Trump himself had visited the kingdom before and had tweeted a picture of himself with the pontiff and then-President Barack Obama in 2015.
The Vatican was also a hub for contacts with the Kremlin, according to the Washington Post.
Trump’s relationship with the pope was further cemented by a meeting he had with the Saudi king, Salman, during the campaign.
The two men had a long, cordial relationship that included their handshake, a photo in which the pope looks over Trump and his wife, Melania, and then smiles broadly and says, “I hope your son is doing well.”
Trump was also close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
They were both in the Oval Office during Putin’s inauguration in 2016.
Trump had previously met with Putin in the White House, according.
“He said he was very impressed with me,” Trump told the New York Times, in March 2017.
“It was very pleasant.
And I said, ‘Great job.’
I thought I would have done a better job than I did.
It was an honor.
It went really well.
I have never had a better reception than I had.”
Trump also met privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin in April 2017, according a White House pool report.
The meeting was not immediately released publicly, and the meeting was reported to have lasted less than two minutes.
During his trip to Saudi in June, Trump also attended a meeting in the Kingdom with the head of the Saudi military.
Afterwards, Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who told Trump that “all options are on the table,” according to a report by the Financial Times.
Jubeire and other officials have been under intense pressure to backtrack from their earlier stance on the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have all imposed sanctions on top Russian officials, including Putin.
Saudi Arabia has also said it will no longer be a party to any nuclear deal with Iran.
In February, Trump tweeted that he was “not looking forward to Iran becoming a nuclear power.”
Trump has also repeatedly called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria.
This is the first time in history that a sitting president has traveled to Saudi to meet with a sitting monarch, and Trump and Saudi King Salman were the first two presidents to do so.
The president and the Saudi monarch have been at odds for months over the war in Syria, and Saudi Arabia’s intervention in the conflict has sparked international criticism and criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the conflict.