President Donald Trump took off over the weekend for a swing around the Middle East that will take him to Saudi Arabia, Israel and elsewhere, then for a stop at the Vatican.
Trump kicked off the trip on Saturday with the announcement of a $350 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which the White House declared a "a significant expansion of…[the] security relationship" between the two countries. On Sunday, the U.S. Treasury announced an alliance with Saudi Arabia and several other Persian Gulf countries — Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates — to try to stem the flow of money that is financing terrorism.
Next up is a two-day visit to Israel, which begins on Monday.
How important is this trip? With the political homeland ablaze, Trump needs some global cred to keep his presidency from sliding too far off the rails and Wall Street from losing confidence. Investors got back on the Trump train after the Wednesday market mess, but he'll only get so many passes.
James Phillips, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation think tank, said Trump's assignment is "to reset relations with key Middle Eastern allies and restore confidence in American leadership."
No sweat, right? The challenge awaits.