(ANTIMEDIA) Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — Ivanka and Melania Trump lauded Saudi Arabia’s progress on women’s rights while visiting the country with the president over the weekend. The first lady praised Saudi Arabia’s “empowerment of women” Sunday during her visit to a General Electric all-female service center and was well-received by the press, which focused on her wardrobe, describing her style choices as “classy and conservative.”
Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump met with prominent businesswomen, civil society leaders, and Saudi elected government officials at a forum where World Bank President Jim Young Kim announced that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will donate a combined $100 million to a World Bank fund for women entrepreneurs, originally proposed by Ivanka.
“We thought it was a fantastic idea, but we had no idea how quickly this would build. This is really a stunning achievement. I’ve never seen anything come together so quickly, and I really have to say that Ivanka’s leadership has been tremendous.”
Ivanka later addressed the roundtable to commend the country’s progress on women’s rights, including allowing women to vote in local elections and reducing the amount of power held by religious police
“In every country around the world women and girls continue to face unique systematic, institutional, cultural barriers, which hinder us from fully engaging in and achieving true parity of opportunity within our communities,” she said. “Each of you know this to be true. And yet the stories of Saudi women, such as yourselves, catalyzing change, inspire me to believe in the possibility of global women’s empowerment.”
Media reports were quick to point out how President Trump’s behavior on the trip to Saudi Arabia starkly contrasts that of candidate Trump — from inflammatory remarks about “radical Islam” to frequently criticizing the Clinton Foundation for accepting donations from repressive regimes, specifically Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia giving $25 million, Qatar, all of these countries. You talk about women and women’s rights? So these are people that push gays off business — off buildings. These are people that kill women and treat women horribly. And yet you take their money,” he argued at an October debate in Las Vegas.
Trump struck a $110 billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia over the weekend despite accusing the country of masterminding the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. After signing the largest arms deal in U.S. history (and ignoring warnings it may make the U.S. complicit in war crimes against Yemen), the president will meet with Israeli leaders on Monday to discuss an Israeli-Palestine peace deal.
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