This isn’t your typical first foreign trip


Monday, May 22, 2017
President Trump on Monday visits the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem. Credit: Ronen Zvulun/AFP/Getty Images
Not Your Typical First Foreign Trip: Trump’s high-risk, high-reward world tour

Trump’s Indestructible Hotel: They brought in their own AC system in case of a gas attack

Our Daily Melania: FLOTUS has a full sched on this trip, too

Kate Bennett

What the White House is Talking About: 
Stop Two on President Trump’s first overseas trip. He’s in Israel today, where he made an historic visit to the Western Wall; he’s the first sitting US president to do so. 

What the White House Press Corps is Talking About:
Trump, and first lady Melania Trump (with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner close behind) have already visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall.

Privately, reporters and crews are thankful to be out of Saudi Arabia, if only because they were plagued by sandstorms during evening live shots. 

Credit: @jimacosta/Instagram

Trump’s Hotel Room is Pretty Much Indestructible, Also Gas-Proof:
This story about the security involved with the President’s trip to Israel is worth the time because the details are super-interesting. He’s staying in a $5,700-per-night suite at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel that’s been built to withstand an RPG attack, and there’s an independent AC system for the room in case someone tries to leak in poison gas.

Meanwhile, Back Home, Medicaid Set to Get Whacked: 
Trump’s budget plan is proposing some $800 billion in cuts to the program. 

Obsessed with Every Image:
I’m literally feeding off Getty Images this entire presidential trip — I’m fixated. Today, I’m digging the pics in which Melania is smiling and Trump isn’t. I don’t know why, they’re just making my Monday. This clip of non-hand-holding is also making the viral rounds. 

Credit: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images
On the left, the first lady and the President are with President Rivlin of Israel at the presidential residence, where they watched as an almond tree was planted in honor of Trump. And on the right, she’s with POTUS at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Ivanka Departs Saudi Arabia with $100 Million for Her Pet Project: 
Ivanka’s been working hard on establishing herself as a champion of women’s economic equality, and one of her initiatives was pitching a fund for female entrepreneurs and businesswomen to help them get capital and access various financial networks. Things seem to be going well with that. Saudi Arabia and the UAE just pledged a $100 million to the proposed Women Entrepreneurs Fund, which is being overseen and operated by the World Bank. 

Our Daily Melania: 
Melania today visited a hospital with Sarah Netanyahu. Not for nothing, FLOTUS’ clothes have been on point. And if you’re one of those people who’s like, “Why are we talking about what she’s wearing?” it’s because sometimes fashion gives clues, especially for women who aren’t doing a whole lot of public speaking. There’s a protocol to style, something Michelle Obama knew and used very well to her advantage during her travels. Today, Melania’s choice of a white suit could be no bigs to you, but the fact that she’s wearing one of the colors of Israel’s flag could mean more to the people in that country. Her flowing black Stella McCartney jumpsuit from Saturday in Saudi Arabia might have meant nothing to most, but its resemblance to an “abaya,” the traditional robe worn by Muslim women, was a conscious nod. Follow me here (and on Twitter @katebennett_DC) all week while I look for meaning in her outfits!
This is the white Michael Kors jacket she is wearing today, on sale for $997.50, marked down by $1,000! 
Credit: Gali Tibbon/Getty Images; michaelkors.com

Congrats, Brian Stelter! 
Big congratulations to our CNN colleague, and fellow newsletter-writer, Brian Stelter, and his wife Jamie, on this morning’s birth of their daughter, Sunny Ray Stelter! 

Credit: @brianstelter/Twitter

PIPPA!:
Friday seems like a long time ago, but if you were in this space, you know how excited I was about seeing Pippa Middleton’s wedding dress. Here it is. It was a guipure lace dress, custom-made by designer Giles Deacon. TBH, it was pretty, but I wasn’t blown away. I wasn’t like, catch-my-breath-OMG in love. Thoughts? 

Credit: Justin Tallis – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Hunter Schwarz

What Washington is Talking About:
President Trump’s proposed budget, which is expected to be released tomorrow and include cuts to Medicaid totaling $800 billion.

What America is Talking About:
The sea lion in British Columbia who dragged a girl into the water.

Comey’s Comeback:
In case you missed it over the weekend, fired FBI Director James Comey agreed to testify before the Senate intelligence committee in an open session, to be scheduled after Memorial Day. Must-see TV.

Billy’s Comeback:
Billy Bush told The Hollywood Reporter he plans to return to television and said he has regrets about how he handled himself in the infamous leaked 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape. “Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic. [Trump] liked TV and competition. I could’ve said, ‘Can you believe the ratings on whatever?’ But I didn’t have the strength of character to do it.”

Co-Host Kasich:
Ohio Gov. John Kasich will co-host “The View” Wednesday, COVER/LINE has learned. He’s been out promoting his book “Two Paths: America United or Divided.”

This Isn’t Your Typical First Foreign Trip:
Editor’s note: For the entirety of Trump’s foreign trip, whenever I write the words TRUMP WORLD TOUR 2017 like that in all caps, I’d like you to hear in your mind an aggressive, hard-rock guitar riff and imagine flames and a screeching eagle and a deep booming monster-truck-rally-announcer-type voice saying “TRUMP WORLD TOUR 2017.”

Most president’s first foreign trips are to either Canada or Mexico instead of a multi-day extravaganza overseas. It’s the political equivalent of a pop star opening his tour in a mid-sized city instead of New York or Los Angeles. But TRUMP WORLD TOUR 2017 is something else entirely. It’s big risk, big reward, and it’s playing out abroad while back home, his White House is in chaos.

It’s made all the more risky by how religious his stops are considering he’s a man who doesn’t seem especially “churchy,” and considering he and his administration have, in ways large and small, offended each of the three big world religions (“a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” and “Islam hates us”; his now-deleted Star of David over a pile of money tweet that he said was just a sheriff’s star, plus Sean Spicer’s Holocaust remarks; and Trump’s feud with the Pope).

My favorite moments so far have been everything Melania has worn, the sword dance, and of course, the orb, which was part of the inauguration ceremony Saturday for the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia:

Credit: Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Royal Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Follow @cnncoverline on Instagram for updates from the trip. We got you covered.

Toby Keith in Saudi Arabia:
The set list for the country singer’s all-male show Saturday in Riyadh included “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” and the Trumps even caught a bit of the show, rolling by a livestream of it in a golf cart, per the Associated Press’ Julie Pace.

What, No Trump Jokes?:
Midway through watching last night’s Billboard Music Awards, I realized I hadn’t heard any political jokes — a first, I think, for a major award show since Trump took office. Cher, who turned 71 Saturday, even had an open mic to say whatever she wanted when she accepted the Billboard Music Artist Achievement Award, and she didn’t say anything about Trump. Was this an anomaly, or a sign we’re returning to apolitical awards shows?

Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In case you missed it, you’re going to want to watch Nicki Minaj’s epic opening medley, Drake’s performance of “Gyalchester” in the middle of the Bellagio fountain, and of course, Celine Dion’s iconic performance of “My Heart Will Go On” in a wonderfully ridiculous dress.

Cher On Tweeting:
Speaking of Cher and her thoughts on Trump, she talked to Billboard about her tweeting habits. Her personal assistant, Jen Ruiz, doesn’t seem to be a fan of it, and Cher even said, “Since Trump was elected, I have to hide my telephone, because I’m so outraged. Twitter is like a drug.” Also, fun fact from the story, Cher said she isn’t a fan of her own music.

Britney’s Lost LGBT Song Leaks:
In 2004, Britney Spears gave a radio interview about an upcoming album she was recording titled “The Original Doll” that ended up never being released nor spoken of again by her. Britney’s lost album has become the stuff of pop legend, and in 2014, I wrote a 4,000-word article on it (please read here and educate yourself if you’re unfamiliar).

Songwriter Michelle Bell told me about one song Britney recorded for the project called “Take Off” that was a precursor to the pro-LGBT, anti-bullying it-gets-better pop of the early ’10s, songs like “Firework” by Katy Perry, “Raise Your Glass” by Pink, “We R Who We R” by Kesha, and “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga.

She compared the song to Michael Jackson’s “Black Or White” and told me, “It was about being tolerant about gay people. It was gay people, discrimination, basically loving yourself and being connected. I think it was ahead of Lady Gaga. I think people would have looked at her and thought she had something to say.”

Well now, you can hear for yourself. Bell posted “Take Off” on YouTube. Lyrics include “They say get ready for the revolution / I think it’s time we found some sort of solution,” and “This is my wish: that we all feel connected / This is my wish: that nobody’s neglected / Be like a rocket, baby, be like a rocket / Take off.”

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COVER/LINE is where politics meets pop culture. From CNN’s Hunter Schwarz and Kate Bennett, this daily newsletter is the must-read lunch date in Washington and beyond.
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