On Friday night, President Donald Trump will leave the White House for his first trip overseas, a nine-day itinerary that involves stops in the Middle East and Europe, as well as a meeting with Pope Francis. Trump is historically late in getting his first passport stamps: Jimmy Carter was the last president who didn't leave the United States during his first 100 days in office.
The trip is also significant because it will mark the first time that Trump has left the White House to stay in something other than a Trump-owned property. Although no one has said whether he'll be bringing the comforts of home like, say, a set of heavy gold curtains or an oil painting of Andrew Jackson, his hosts are doing what they can to keep him from getting fussy.
According to the Associated Press, chefs in Saudi Arabia are already prepared to serve Trump his favorite meal. "[T]he caterers are planning to offer the president steak and ketchup alongside the lamb and hefty portions of rice on the menu," the AP reports. "All the meat will have been butchered in a Shariah-compliant halal manner as per Islamic custom."
That's right, President Big Boy will be getting a very special well-done steak and, if he asks nicely, perhaps someone will make airplane noises while they help him aim his fork at his open mouth. At least this might allow the White House staff to relax for at least one meal before they start worrying about how the other twenty-plus are going to go. "Even before Trump's trip morphed from a quick jaunt to Europe into a nine-day behemoth, White House aides were on edge about how the president would take to grueling pressures of foreign travel: the time zone changes, the unfamiliar hotels, the local delicacies," the AP explains.
Trump's love for steak with the texture of a catcher's mitt is well-documented. During one memorable South Carolina campaign appearance, a man in sunglasses held up a sign that read "Trump Likes His Steak Well Done." And in February, when he ventured beyond the White House fences for his first presidential dinner out in Washington, D.C., that's exactly what he ordered: a well-done $54 dry-aged steak, with a side of ketchup. (Yes, the restaurant he selected was the one inside the Trump International Hotel.)
During his two terms as president, Barack Obama made four trips to Saudi Arabia, meeting twice with the now-late King Abdullah and twice with his successor, King Salman. Although the leaders did not always dine together, during Obama's January 2015 trip to Riyadh, his hosts prepared a "lavish dinner of lobster soup, grilled lamb and French pastries." It does not appear that any special meals were required, nor did anyone ask for ketchup.