The fight against terrorism is a “battle between good and evil,” not a fight between “different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,” President Trump said in a widely-anticipated speech in Saudi Arabia.
This is Trump’s first foreign trip as president, and he delivered the address to leaders of dozens of Arab and Muslim-majority nations. The Saudis say at least 37 leaders are present, NPR’s Jane Arraf reported from Riyadh.
The president called on the leaders to do their “fair share” and fulfill “their part of the burden” in the fight against extremists. He stressed that the U.S. is prepared to “stand by you,” but “the nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them.”
“Drive them out,” he told the leaders. “Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land. And drive them out of this earth.”
Trump noted that Middle Eastern nations have sustained the highest number of casualties from terrorist attacks, describing it as a “tragedy of epic proportions.” The region’s “untapped potential…is held at bay by bloodshed and terror,” he said. “There can be no tolerating it,” he added.
Trump said that his administration is adopting a policy of “principled realism.” Here’s more:
“We will make decisions based on real-world outcomes – not inflexible ideology. We will be guided by the lessons of experience, not the confines of rigid thinking. And, wherever possible, we will seek gradual reforms – not sudden intervention.”
This speech is closely watched in the region, especially in light of Trump’s attempt earlier this year to halt travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Upon arrival in the country Saturday, Trump was greeted “by Saudi King Salman, a red carpet, royal guards, trumpeters and a jet flyover with red white and blue con trails,” as NPR’s Tamara Keith reported. He later signed an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth $110 billion dollars, among several other agreements.
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