Melania and Ivanka Trump both arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday without their heads covered – two years after Donald Trump criticised Michelle Obama for doing the same thing.
The First Lady and First Daughter were both dressed modestly when they alighted at King Khalid International Airport but neither wore a headscarf, as Saudi women are required to do by law.
Mr Trump said in 2015 that Mrs Obama had “insulted” Saudi Arabia by not covering her head when she and President Barack Obama visited the Muslim country.
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
“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,” Mr Trump said on Twitter in January 2015.
Six months later he announced he was running for president.
Saudi women are forced to cover up when they leave their homes but visiting Western female dignitaries tend not to cover their heads when visiting. Neither Theresa May nor Angela Merkel wore headscarves during their visits earlier this year.
Both Mr Trump’s daughter and wife made some concession to local sensitivities and wore almost entirely covered. Melania Trump wore a sleeved black robe with a gold belt while Ivanka Trump wore a black-and-white dress with long sleeves.
King Salman, the Saudi ruler, shook Mrs Trump’s hand as she ascended from Air Force One. Many Saudi men would refuse to shake a woman’s hand.
Mrs Obama dressed similarly to the Trumps when she attended the funeral of Saudi’s King Abdullah, who died in January 2015.
But her decision to go uncovered sparked some backlash on Saudi social media, with angry people tweeting under the hashtag #Michelle_Obama_unveiled.
Mr Trump did not use the hashtag but did join the chorus of internet critics sniping about the First Lady’s appearance.