Obama Balks at Repeating Bush Habit of Man-on-Man Kissing With Saudi Kings
RIYADH — As U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in the Saudi capital today, the White House confirmed that the president will not be kissing newly proclaimed King Salman on the lips as his predecessor George W. Bush often did with the late King Abdullah.
“The President and King Salman have agreed that a manly hand shake will be the new form of greeting,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
“His Majesty supports this change in protocol and has additionally requested that the President refrain from former President Bush’s signs of respect such as hand-holding, slow waltzing at state affairs, and gently brushing his cheek.”
“Frankly, both leaders found the touchy feely thing peculiar at best and are relieved they will not have to pucker up.”
King Salman (79) and President Obama (53) are expected to meet for several hours during Obama’s 6-hour visit that is also scheduled to include First Lady Michelle Obama breaking protocol and driving herself to a meeting with the King’s 17 wives.
Earnest was quick to downplay suggestions from European media that there was anything homoerotic about George Bush’s frequent whispering in King Abdullah’s ear or seemingly spontaneous French kissing.
“Former President Bush also patted a lot of men on the rear like athlete’s do. That in no way suggests anything beyond his personal way of connecting with other men in a very human way,” said Earnest.
“It was a bit odd though.”
“President Obama is pleased the brief tradition has ended and looks forward to a long and fruitful friendship between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
Reportering for The Lapine