Just when you thought this week couldn't get any weirder, it does. Saudi Arabia honored President Donald Trump Saturday by bestowing him with their nation's highest honor, the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud. King Salman of Saudi Arabia placed the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud around Trump's neck during a ceremony at Riyadh's Royal Court Palace shortly after the U.S. president had landed for the first stop on his international tour. And while the practice of honoring visiting dignitaries isn't generally something to zero in on, this moment seems particularly confounding when you consider why Saudi Arabian officials claimed Trump was being honored.
According to the Associated Press, the person hosting the ceremony honoring Trump claimed it was the U.S. president's "quest to enhance security and stability in the region and around the world" that had earned him the prestigious medal. Yes, that's right. Someone is actually honoring Trump for his efforts to bring about security and stability.
Meanwhile, Trump is being characterized as a threat to American national security back at home following a report from The Washington Post alleging he shared highly-classified information with Russian officials. According to a recent Monmouth University Poll, 52 percent of respondents view Trump's attitude toward Russia as a "security threat." He's also had a tumultuous week with several stunning developments in the FBI investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian officials.
"Trump's actions directly jeopardize our relationship with Israel [the alleged source of the information] and pose a security threat to our national security and risk lives, including those of our troops abroad," Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement earlier this week. "It is chilling to think that one of our nation's greatest security threats is coming from inside the Oval Office."
This isn't the first time that concerns have been raised over whether Trump's actions make him a national security threat. May I remind you of reports claiming Trump may have read and discussed classified documents pertaining to a North Korean missile launch with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in front of Mar-a-Lago members. Or how about the multiple former U.S. diplomats and security officials who warned Trump's executive order on immigration "could do long-term damage" to U.S. national security and U.S. intelligence efforts, as well as potentially put American troops in jeopardy?
Or the 50 Republican officials who warned in August that Trump's recklessness and lack of experience or understanding when it came to policy, preserving alliances, and navigating diplomatic challenges "would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being"? Even more frighteningly was that fact that Trump's refusal to receive the president's daily intelligence briefing during his transition back in December seemed to serve as proof he didn't even posses a willingness to get up to speed.
While Trump may be seen as a figurehead of security and stability in Saudi Arabia, his reputation back home paints a markedly different picture.