On tour with Trump

A photographer offers a behind-the-scenes view of the President’s first foreign trip Photographs by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

For the first time in his presidency, Donald Trump traveled abroad — a nine-day, five-country tour that saw him meet with a king, a pope and other heads of state from all over the world.

Along for the ride was Mandel Ngan, a photographer with Agence France-Presse. Ngan, a Canadian photographer based in Washington, has been covering the White House since the George W. Bush administration. He also covered Trump during his campaign.

Friday, May 19

Trump departed Washington as controversies swirled, all centering on the alleged ties between his campaign and Russia. Earlier in the week, it was announced that a special counsel, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, would lead the investigation.

While many former presidents took their first foreign trips to Canada or Mexico, Trump chose to go in a much different direction. He is the first US president to visit the Middle East on his maiden voyage.

These folders were given to members of the media aboard Air Force One.

Members of the White House press corps make their way to Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base.

Saturday, May 20

Trump landed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, and was lavished with extravagant royal pomp as he was welcomed by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The two leaders oversaw the signing of a defense deal worth nearly $110 billion. Multiple agreements between American and Saudi companies were also inked.

“That was a tremendous day. Tremendous investments in the United States. Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs,” Trump said.

People gather on the tarmac after Air Force One landed in Riyadh.

A press van drives through an entrance of the Saudi Royal Court.

Palace guards line up inside the Royal Court.

Trump joins dancers with swords ahead of a banquet at Murabba Palace in Riyadh.

White House press vans are parked under decorative lighting at Murabba Palace.

Sunday, May 21

On his second day in Saudi Arabia, Trump delivered a speech at a summit that included leaders from 55 Muslim-majority countries. He looked to make it clear that the United States is not at war with Islam.

“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilizations,” he said. “This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between good and evil.”

Trump urged Muslim-majority countries to do more to eradicate terrorist groups that claim the mantle of Islam. “We can only overcome this evil if the forces of good are united and strong and if everyone in this room does their fair share and fulfills their part of the burden,” Trump said. “Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in stamping out radicalization.”

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud waits for Trump’s arrival before a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Journalists wait in Riyadh before Trump met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. “The first two days of the trip in Riyadh have been extremely busy,” Ngan said.

Security personnel guard a door before Sunday’s summit in Riyadh.

Trump meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. El-Sisi complimented Trump on his “unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible.” Trump exchanged pleasantries back, praising el-Sisi’s shoes.

Men sit in front of computers inside the new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. Trump was there for the center’s inauguration ceremony.

Monday, May 22

Trump landed in Tel Aviv, Israel, to begin the second leg of his trip.

From Tel Aviv, he traveled to Jerusalem, where he visited the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. He also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

On the way to Tel Aviv, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One.

Air Force One sits on the tarmac of Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.

Police stand guard outside the King David Hotel, where Trump is staying in Jerusalem.

Trump touches the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, while in Jerusalem. He became the first sitting US president to visit the wall.

Members of the White House press corps are seen in the foreground as fireworks light up the Jerusalem sky.

Tuesday, May 23

A day after meeting with Israeli leaders, Trump traveled to the West Bank to visit Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Trump said he was “truly hopeful” that his administration could broker a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, and he said he believed both sides “are ready to reach for peace.”

Trump visited Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, and delivered remarks at the Israel Museum before flying out to Rome for the third leg of his tour.

A hotel has a message for Trump in Jerusalem. It’s near the King David Hotel where Trump was staying.

Members of the White House press corps wait to board vans heading to Bethlehem, West Bank.

An honor guard moves out of a courtyard following a welcome ceremony for Trump in Bethlehem.

In Bethlehem, Trump met with Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority.

The President and first lady lay a wreath at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

Trump wears a yarmulke at Yad Vashem.

Wednesday, May 24

The President met Pope Francis at the Vatican, where the two exchanged gifts and talked for 30 minutes in the Pope’s private study. The Vatican allowed access to only one still photographer from the White House press corps, so Ngan was unable to be there when Trump met the Pope.

Afterward, Trump and the first lady toured the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica before heading back to Rome.

“He is something,” Trump said of the Pope later in the day, during a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. “We had a fantastic meeting. We’re liking Italy very, very much and it was an honor to be with the Pope.”

The day finished with Trump flying to Brussels, Belgium, where he met the country’s king and prime minister.

A guard stands at the presidential palace where Trump met with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

Members of the White House press corps wait for the President to arrive for an audience with Pope Francis.

A nun walks across the San Damaso courtyard at the Vatican.

While visiting the Vatican, the President and first lady toured St. Peter’s Basilica.

Trump and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel listen to national anthems during a welcome ceremony in Brussels.

Thursday, May 25

While in Brussels, Trump met with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

He also had a working lunch with new French President Emmanuel Macron and met with other world leaders at a NATO summit.

Trump chided NATO member countries directly for not meeting their financial commitments to the alliance and declined to reiterate US commitment to the alliance’s mutual defense pledge.

“Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying for their defense. This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States,” he said.

The Council of Europe flag is seen outside of the European Union Headquarters in Brussels.

US Defense Secretary James Mattis, fourth from right, chats with White House advisers ahead of a meeting between Trump and European leaders.

Journalists crowd into an elevator after covering a meeting at the European Union Headquarters.

Members of the press are waved over to board a motorcade after Trump’s meeting at the European Union Headquarters.

Trump speaks at the new NATO headquarters in Brussels. At right is a 9/11 memorial, a steel beam from the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

Friday, May 26

On the final leg of his trip, Trump visited Italy’s Sicilian coast for a two-day G-7 summit.

The Group of Seven is comprised of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom. Its leaders were expected to discuss global economic issues and problems such as the Syrian civil war and the fight against ISIS.

In the evening, Trump and his wife attended a concert of the La Scala Philharmonic Orchestra.

Soldiers watch a member of the White House press corps walk through Taormina, Italy, the host city of the G-7 summit.

G-7 leaders congregate during a walk in Taormina.

Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit.

Trump and other G-7 leaders pose for a photo at the summit.

Saturday, May 27

Trump said he will make a decision next week on whether the United States will withdraw from the landmark Paris climate accord from 2015. A top aide said the President listened carefully to his G-7 counterparts and is “evolving” on the issue.

After wrapping up meetings at the G-7 summit, Trump ended his trip by meeting with US military personnel and their families at an air base in Sicily.

Trump addresses American troops and their families at Naval Air Station Sigonella.

The first lady joined her husband at the air base. What we learned about Melania Trump from the trip

The Trumps board Air Force One as they prepare to fly home.

Mandel Ngan is a Canadian photographer based in Washington. He is a staff photographer for Agence France-Presse.

Photo editor: Brett Roegiers