On Saturday, Trump supporters and Fox News praised Trump for his greeting with Saudi Arabian leaders—instead of bowing, much like President Barack Obama did in 2009 to then-leader King Abdullah in London, he gave the king a handshake.
Trump greeted by Saudi in most elaborate welcome in their history.— john reilly (@travlr009) May 20, 2017
Obama was forced to bow in mud room entrance pic.twitter.com/fwzpdVOn6F
To headline a story on Trump’s Saudi greeting, Fox News wrote, “Trump shakes hands with Saudi leader, doesn’t bow as Obama appeared to do.”
“President Trump upon arriving in Saudi Arabia on Saturday did not bow to the Gulf leader as former President Barack Obama appeared to do—a move interpreted as American weakness,” the Fox News piece read. Trump has also previously criticized Obama’s bow on Twitter, and appeared to tell his staff that anyone who bowed would be “on the next flight home.”
"@flanny1971: @realDonaldTrump clearly puts this country first! Security, vets, economy and won't bow down to other world leaders!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2015
Last words from @POTUS before deplaning Air Force One: "I catch one American bowing here and you're on the next Saudia flight home"…— Steve Cortes (@CortesSteve) May 20, 2017
However, those excited by Trump’s symbolic handshake spoke just a smidgen too soon. Because an hour after Fox praised the president, Trump appeared to bow, or maybe curtsy, or possibly both, for the king.
This is the actual Fox News headline from this morning, LITERALLY an hour before this photo was taken. pic.twitter.com/HWlzFdVZvY— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) May 20, 2017
Trump just curtsied(!) to the King of Saudi Arabia, and Fox News still just hyperventilating about Obama "bow." pic.twitter.com/Qtk3bL7Rgr— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) May 20, 2017
How conservatives criticized Obama for bowing to Saudi King. "The bow was an extraordinary protocol violation." https://t.co/oddfkYhGGi— Alexi McCammond (@alexi) May 20, 2017
According to CNN, the bow took place while King Salman was presenting Trump with the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud, the highest honor in Saudi Arabia.
POTUS given Saudi gold medal, known as "King Abdul Aziz Collar," considered the kingdom's highest honor. pic.twitter.com/qd4qCk2CLv— Noah Gray (@NoahGrayCNN) May 20, 2017
Of course, Twitter ran with the concept of Trump, whose affinity for gold has plated even the White House, bending back on his criticism of Obama’s bow to bow for a piece of gold. Some even equated the collar to that of a dog’s.
Trump bows for a gold collar in Saudi Arabia. Leash attached in private ceremony. https://t.co/6RB3bbf8uI— ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@riotwomennn) May 20, 2017
TRANSLATION: The Saudis just put a beautiful gold collar on their new pet dog.— Chet Powell (@ChetPowell) May 20, 2017
The Trump Motto: "Will bow for gold." pic.twitter.com/qkIkmeRn61— Eric Schmeltzer 🇺🇸 (@JustSchmeltzer) May 20, 2017
You can't even make this stuff up:— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) May 20, 2017
Trump bows to receive a gold collar from Saudi royals. https://t.co/GpgKCe1tEd
Although, some Twitter users alleged that the bow looked a lot more like a curtsy, or a bow with a curtsy-like finish.
That moment when conservatives flood internet w/TRUMP BOWS TO NO ONE MEMES & Trump not only bows, but adds a curtsy pic.twitter.com/OXkhiv8bxv— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) May 20, 2017
For all those that were apoplectic over Obama's bow, I present the Trump curtsy. https://t.co/dqaNthycVy— Christopher Jasinski (@analyticswonk) May 20, 2017
Did Trump curtsy to the King of Saudi Arabia? pic.twitter.com/xsTGfg2m0J— Jennifer Hayden (@Scout_Finch) May 20, 2017
I love how the King partly turns away, then sees weirdo Trump doing the curtsy from the corner of his eye… and gets this "wtf" look. 😂— 🗽Lara🗽 (@Femmevixen) May 20, 2017
"Unlike Obama, Trump refuses to debase himself by bowing before a king. Diplomat that he is, he deftly opts instead for a half-curtsy" pic.twitter.com/LnHHJMOmC8— Federalist PitchBot (@FederalistPitch) May 20, 2017
Regardless of the optics of Trump’s clear body bend toward the king, the move definitely doesn’t look good for the president. Especially with all the criticism that was heaped on the last American president for doing something pretty similar.