In simpler times, Donald Trump, then a tacky real estate developer and novice Twitter troll, took issue with the Obamas’ behavior with respect to Saudi Arabia.
First, Trump echoed much of the right-wing media in criticizing President Obama for appearing to bow before Saudi King Abdullah at a G-20 summit in London’s Buckingham Palace back in 2009:
If that weren’t enough, Trump took shots at first lady Michelle Obama for opting against wearing a headscarf during the president’s state visit to Saudi Arabia:
You can probably guess what happened next. Yes, President Trump not only bowed but appeared to curtsy before Saudi King Salman during his recent trip to Saudi Arabia, while first ladies Melania and Ivanka Trump were praised for forgoing headscarves.
There was much more, and Late Show host Stephen Colbert took on President Trump’s gaffe-filled Saudi Arabia trip on Monday night’s program.
“After arriving, the president then took part in a celebratory sword dance called the ardah, and here’s Trump sword-flopping to the beat. ‘I’m not here to cause no trouble, I’m just here to do the Middle East shuffle,’” sang Colbert, imitating the president.
“You can kind of hear what he’s thinking,” Colbert continued. “He’s going, ‘OK, Donnie, this is weird. But get through it, they’ll let you meet the genie. It’s going to be fine. I’m going to wish for all the wishes.’”
Then there was Steve Bannon, Trump’s senior adviser and a man with a long history of Islamophobic behavior, who appeared to look incredibly uncomfortable while surrounded by a group of Saudi men in traditional dress.
“Not everyone looked that comfortable at the party. Here’s Steve Bannon realizing these aren’t the kind of men in white robes he’s used to,” cracked Colbert, alluding to Bannon’s tenure as chief executive of the alt-right publication Breitbart.
But let’s not forget the matter of the mysterious glowing orb. While commemorating the opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh, Trump, King Salman, and several advisers posed for photos massaging an illuminated orb. The memes pretty much wrote themselves.
“Whatever qualities that magical sphere confers, eternal youth is not one of them,” joked Colbert. “Fellas, if I may: You need to work on your ‘not looking like supervillains’ skills. It looks like they’re activating the undersea robot to emerge from its volcano base and kill Aquaman.”