May 20, 2017

Old Trump tweet fuels Saudi headscarf furor


One of the primary reasons people are talking about Melania Trump's decision not to wear a headscarf in Saudi Arabia is because of Donald Trump's tweet.

In January 2015, Trump tweeted criticism of Michelle Obama for not wearing a headscarf during her trip to Saudi Arabia with then-President Obama. "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 wrote, suggesting that Michelle's decision to forgo a headscarf was so controversial it would make an enemy of Saudi Arabia.

Today, Melania was noticeably not wearing a headscarf during his visit to Saudi Arabia with Trump, but there's no backlash from the president this time around. Perhaps because he realized that most Western women (including past First Ladies Obama and Hillary Clinton) have gone without the scarf, as head coverings aren't required for foreign visitors, AP points out.

Dress code:

While headscarves are the standard among Saudi women, the only dress code for female visitors to follow is wearing a loose, black robe known as an abaya, while in public. Melania followed that with a Western interpretation of the abaya — an all-black pantsuit.

Bottom line: Trump is still controlling the media narrative surrounding his Saudi Arabia trip, even without making public remarks. His controversial tweet from the past has reminded people of his hypocritical views on Western women, particularly the First Lady, wearing a headscarf in Saudi Arabia .

Go deeper

Trump considers quarantine for states near epicenter of U.S. coronavirus outbreak

President Trump speaks to the press on March 28 in Washington, DC. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump said on Saturday he is considering a "short term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut — areas congruent with the New York metro area, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus in the U.S.

Reality check: These states have already taken steps to quarantine residents and promote social distancing to combat COVID-19. The governors of New York and New Jersey issued statewide stay-at-home orders last week, and non-essential businesses in Connecticut were ordered to close as of this Monday.

New York is latest state to delay primary due to coronavirus

Photo: Barbara Davidson/Getty Images

New York — the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. — has moved its presidential primary to June 23, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday.

Why it matters: 23 other states and the District of Columbia haven't held primaries yet. The White House is recommending, for now, that Americans practice social distancing and gather in groups of no more than 10 people — while many states have issued stay-at-home orders.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 622,450 — Total deaths: 28,794 — Total recoveries: 135,779.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 105,573 — Total deaths: 1,711 — Total recoveries: 895.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is reportedly considering a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. He signed the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill to provide businesses and U.S. workers economic relief.
  4. State updates: A group of Midwestern swing voters that supported President Trump's handling of the coronavirus less than two weeks ago is balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter. Alaska is latest state to issue stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month.
  5. World updates: Italy reported 969 coronavirus deaths on Friday, the country's deadliest day. In Spain, over 1,300 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancing.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.