President Trump touches orb in Saudi, lights up internet
Saudi Arabia rolled out the red carpet for US President Donald Trump on his inaugural overseas trip, but a moment involving a glowing orb had observers scratching their heads.
Trump attended the opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology on Sunday alongside his host, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, reported the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
As the lights dimmed, the three leaders officially “activated” the new center by placing their hands on an illuminated globe as a four-minute introduction video displayed on large screens behind them, according to local media.
At the center of the facility, massive screens monitor and display real-time online extremist activity while over 200 data analysts work on individual desktops nearby, the Saudi Gazette reported.
The new counter-terrorism center, known as Etidal, tweeted from its official account that it is designed to bring “prime technology together with Saudi expertise and international partnership to eradicate extremism.”
State photographers were on hand to capture the moment, which quickly spawned memes from social media users who likened the US President to everything from comic book characters to blockbuster movie villains.
Trump was in Saudi Arabia on the first leg of his first foreign tour, which also includes stops in Israel, the Vatican, Belgium and Italy over the coming days.
After spending the weekend in the Kingdom, he flew to Tel Aviv on Monday morning where he hopes to revive the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, address regional security issues and reaffirm America’s commitment to its alliance with Israel.