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The highlights (some unusual) from Trump's first foreign trip

Fractures between Trump & allies

President Donald Trump's first trip abroad is finishing up, and he can count some successes.

Even some critics praised Mr. Trump's speech in Saudi Arabia on terrorism. He became the first sitting president to visit the Western Wall, and one of the first people ever to fly directly from Riyadh to Tel Aviv. He was forthright in his denunciation of the terror attack in Manchester during his press conference with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, and appears to be well on his way to getting NATO allies to concentrate more on terrorism and pay more for defense.

On a more superficial level, the trip has made Mr. Trump look good even as his administration is embroiled in scandal back home. He's been praised and feted by foreign leaders ranging from Abbas to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Pope Francis.

Still, Mr. Trump being Mr. Trump, there have been some odd moments on the trip. Starting with…

1. The orb 

The first image from the trip to light up social media was also the most surreal. The first question on many people's minds when they saw it: What is that thing?

In this Sunday, May 21, 2017 photo released by the Saudi Press Agency, from left to right, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, Saudi King Salman, U.S. First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump, visit a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Press Agency via AP) Uncredited / AP

No, it wasn't magic, and it did not grant the president any supernatural powers. Still, the orb – which was actually a light-up globe – briefly transfixed America when the images appeared of the Mr. Trump touching it with Saudi King Salman, Egyptian President Abdel el-Sisi, and a room full of men in military uniforms and traditional Arab garb. Twitter had a field day with the image. 

In reality, the ceremony was held to inaugurate a new Saudi initiative to combat extremism.

2. The alleged slaps 

First Lady Melania Trump appeared to twice slap away Mr. Trump's hand during their trip abroad together.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz jumped on the first apparent brush-off, which happened shortly after the Trumps landed in Tel Aviv.

The second possible refusal happened after the Trumps arrived on Air Force One in Rome and walked down a staircase hitched to the plane.

3. The "Middle East"

During a meeting with Netanyahu in Israel, Mr. Trump announced that he "just got back from the Middle East -- we just got back from Saudi Arabia." 

The statement appeared to make Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer grimace, since Israel, of course, is the very epicenter of the Middle East -- thus the name, "Middle East peace process."

4. "I didn't mention Israel"

Before Mr. Trump left for his trip abroad, reports surfaced that he had discussed a highly classified piece of intelligence concerning ISIS with Russian officials. The intelligence is said to have originated with Israel.

The White House pushed back on the story, and so did Mr. Trump in Israel. "Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name 'Israel','" Mr. Trump said during an appearance with Netanyahu. "Never mentioned it during that conversation. They were all saying I did. So you had another story wrong. Never mentioned the word 'Israel'."

The intelligence community was worried that Mr. Trump divulged enough information that the source of the information could be compromised. However, Mr. Trump was never accused of telling the Russians that the intelligence came from Israel, or ever mentioning Israel in conversations with Russian officials. 

5. The Pope trolls the president

Pope Francis, the most liberal Catholic pontiff in decades, has criticized Mr. Trump in the past, provoking a brief war of words between the two during the campaign. Their meeting this week at the Vatican, however, was much more cordial.

Pope Francis poses with President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Mr. Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump at the end of a private audience at the Vatican on May 24, 2017.
Pope Francis poses with President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Mr. Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump at the end of a private audience at the Vatican on May 24, 2017. AFP/Getty Images

Still, there were moments of apparent tension. At one point, Pope Francis gave Mr. Trump a copy of his encyclical on combatting climate change and environmental degradation. Mr. Trump has repeatedly expressed doubts as to whether man-made climate change is real.

When greeting Melania Trump, the Pope also seemed to poke fun at Mr. Trump when he asked the Slovenian-born, first lady, in Italian, "What are you feeding him, potica?" Potica is a kind of Slovenian cake. Mrs. Trump, apparently confused, replied "pizza?"

First Lady visits Italy

6. Trump meets an ally, pushes him

During a visit to NATO's headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, Mr. Trump appeared to shove Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic so he could be in front of the group of international leaders.

Trump shoves prime minister of Montenegro at NATO summit

The Balkan leader, who recently had to fend off a Moscow-backed coup attempt, insists he wasn't put off by the gesture, and gamely patted Mr. Trump on the back after it happened.

"I didn't really register it, I just saw reaction to it on social networks. It is quite simply a harmless situation. I don't take it any other way," Markovic said in a statement after the event. "…But since today journalists are referring to that scene in different ways I would also wish to tell you that it is natural that the president of the United States is in the front row."

Montenegro will soon join the NATO alliance, despite Moscow's wishes to the contrary. 

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