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Tillerson: ‘Not my first sword dance’ in Saudi Arabia

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday that his sword dance the previous night in Saudi Arabia was not his first.

“I hadn’t been practicing, Chris, but it was not my first sword dance,” Tillerson told Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace.


Tillerson and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross linked arms during the dance with Saudi performers on Saturday night. President Trump also took part, swaying to the music, and appeared to enjoy the ceremonial dance. The event took place on Trump’s first day visiting Saudi Arabia, his first stop on his first foreign trip as president.

The traditional men’s sword dance is known as the ardah, according to the Saudi Arabian Embassy in the U.S. The dance mixes singers and dancers carrying swords.

Former President George W. Bush took part in the dance in 2008 with now-King Salman.

The dance was a part of Trump’s warm welcome in Saudi Arabia. The president abandoned his previous controversial rhetoric on Islam in an address to leaders of Muslim nations. He noticeably shied away from criticizing Saudi Arabia’s human rights record in the speech. 

Tags Rex Tillerson Saudi Arabian culture Trump

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