Donald Trump has been accused of hypocrisy after appearing to “curtsey” while receiving a gold medal from the king of Saudi Arabia.
Back in 2012, Mr Trump criticised his predecessor Barack Obama for bowing to foreign leaders, including then-Saudi King Abdullah.
But he bowed his head while receiving the country’s highest civilian honour on Saturday, the Collar of King Abdulaziz al-Saud.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2012
After King Salman placed the chain around his neck, the President performed a small dip widely interpreted as a curtsey by observers.
One Twitter user commented: “Unlike Obama, Trump refuses to debase himself by bowing before a king. Diplomat that he is, he deftly opts instead for a half-curtsey.”
Outraged conservatives also chastised Mr Obama for bowing to the Saudi king, contending that the leader of the free world must not bend over to foreigners.
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“By bending over to show greater respect to Islam, the US president belittled the power and independence of the United States,” the Washington Times said in an editorial. “Such an act is a traditional obeisance befitting a king’s subjects, not his peer.”
Videos and photos show Mr Obama bending at the waist toward the king, but the White House maintained that the president never bowed.
Saudi Arabia is the first stop on Mr Trump’s nine-day, five-country tour abroad.
Along with his seemingly awkward “curtsey”, Mr Trump also took part in a traditional “Ardha” sword dance.
Videos show Mr Trump smiling and swaying from side to side, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson joined a line of Saudi participants.