Saturday 19 August 2017

No headscarf for Melania Trump despite husband's 2015 attack on Michelle Obama

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One upon arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump chats with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at a ceremony where US President Donald Trump received the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal from Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk with Saudi King Salman to a coffee ceremony and presentation ceremony of The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal at the Royal Court Palace (AP)
First Lady Melania Trump did not wear a headscarf (AP)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Melania Trump has raised eyebrows after arriving in Saudi Arabia without a headscarf, two years after her husband criticised then-first lady Michelle Obama for not wearing one in the Muslim country.

Accompanying her husband on his first international trip, Mrs Trump stepped off Air Force One conservatively dressed in long sleeves and trousers to conform to the strict dress code that Saudi Arabia enforces for its female citizens.

But one thing was missing from her black and gold-belted ensemble - a head scarf.

Instead, Mrs Trump's below-the-shoulder brown hair blew freely in the breeze at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.

US First Lady Melania Trump chats with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at a ceremony where US President Donald Trump received the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal from Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US First Lady Melania Trump chats with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at a ceremony where US President Donald Trump received the Order of Abdulaziz al-Saud medal from Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Under the kingdom's strict dress code for women, Saudi women and most female visitors are required to wear a loose, black robe, known as an abaya, in public. Most women in Saudi Arabia also cover their hair and face with a veil known as the niqab.

But covering one's head is not required for foreigners, and some Western women choose to forgo the headscarf. Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both shunned head coverings during earlier visits.

Mrs Obama did not cover her head when she accompanied then-president Barack Obama on a condolence visit in January 2015 after the death of King Abdullah.

And during her time as first lady, Laura Bush generally went without covering her head, though she once briefly donned a head scarf she received as a gift. Hillary Clinton also did not cover her head on visits to Saudi Arabia.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk with Saudi King Salman to a coffee ceremony and presentation ceremony of The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal at the Royal Court Palace (AP)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk with Saudi King Salman to a coffee ceremony and presentation ceremony of The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal at the Royal Court Palace (AP)

Nonetheless, Mr Trump, whose long trail of Twitter messages often comes back to haunt him, tweeted his displeasure over Mrs Obama's decision to appear bare-headed in 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," he tweeted.

Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka, a senior White House adviser who is accompanying her father, also did not cover her head.

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