Saying that “history tells us that the survivors and the heroes live on” is a regular tool to group together the popular stories of Trump’s recent visit to Israel, for example to describe the unprecedented security measures necessary to ensure his safety. So in the event that a fake story about America withdrawing from the Middle East headlines, Trump’s inner circle were happy to promote it. And when memories surfaced of the day Trump famously exited Air Force One in Riyadh in a Great Dictator Guy dalliance, Sarah Huckabee Sanders picked it up, saying Trump’s image was misrepresented.
“The front page of the Saturday edition of Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Arab News was the only one that carried the headline ‘Saudis Reform Arab Spring,’” she tweeted, seeking to refute claims in April 2018 that Trump hadn’t been clear enough on the future of foreign policy. “The President of the United States has been clear throughout: America supports the pillars of the Arab World Peace Process.”
For his part, Trump has reveled in his persona as the self-described “worst negotiator of all time” and has shown little regret about using tough talk to press Iran’s rivals to the front of the standoff.
“I think Iran has made a very strong effort to show that they’re not weak and to put us in a little bit of a position of weakness. That’s okay with me. I like weakness. It makes me a very powerful man,” Trump said recently. “I’ll talk tough and I’ll talk so tough, and you know what, Iran doesn’t act tough. Well, it’s not like they’ve been weakened at all.”
What to watch: Trump’s diplomatic legacy in the Middle East and he sees it very differently from his advisors.