The two leaders posed for photos while seated in the Royal Hall at the airport’s terminal before getting into a motorcade to head to a series of meetings. Aides said Mr. Trump had spent most of the flight from Washington, which took 12 hours and 20 minutes, meeting with staff, reading newspapers and working on his speech. He got very little sleep, they said.
In Riyadh, Mr. Trump is viewed as a refreshing change from President Barack Obama, who was viewed with disdain in the wake of the Iranian nuclear deal that Mr. Obama brokered in 2015.
Last year, Mr. Obama visited Saudi Arabia for meetings with King Salman and Gulf leaders, but the king did not meet him on the airport’s tarmac. Mr. Obama’s aides later played down the incident, but it was broadly portrayed in news accounts as a snub.
Mr. Trump’s planned trip had been greeted with public enthusiasm that is rare for this usually restrained country. Huge billboards around the city featured Mr. Trump and King Salman, while the city’s roads were lined with alternating American and Saudi flags.
Other billboards touted the long friendship between the two countries, displaying the historic picture of King Abdulaziz Al Saud, the founding monarch of the modern Saudi state, with Franklin D. Roosevelt, when the two met on a boat in the Great Bitter Lake offshoot of the Suez Canal in Egypt in 1945.