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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sought on Thursday to cast President Trump’s first trip abroad since entering office as a signal of the U.S. reengaging globally after a period of “neglect.”
“What I would tell you is there is a great sense of expectation and I think a great welcomeness of America returning to the scene,” Tillerson said at a news conference.
“Many of the leaders, particularly in the part of the world we’ll be traveling — the Middle East, Central Asia and even parts of Africa – are ready for a period of what they view to have been neglect to outright dismissal of their concerns. They’re ready for reengagement with America.”
Tillerson’s remarks came a day before Trump departs on a nine-day trip to five countries — his first excursion abroad as president, in which he is set to visit Israel, Saudi Arabia, Italy, the Vatican and Belgium.
But a New York Times report on Wednesday painted Trump as far more reluctant to travel abroad than Tillerson’s comments suggested. The president reportedly sought to shorten the trip to five days, and he is said to be loath to travel far from his personal residences.
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