Amid firestorm at home, Trump to seek reset with Islamic world

RIYADH, May 21 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, struggling to shake a brewing scandal at home, will attempt a reset on Sunday with the Islamic world after frequently attacking Muslims on the campaign trail last year and trying to ban many from the United States.

Trump's afternoon speech at an Arab Islamic American Summit (4:20 p.m. local/9:20 a.m. EDT) will include appeals for Muslims to unite against the threat of Islamic militants.

A senior administration official said Trump's basic theme in the speech will be to call for unity and say Muslims need to confront radicalism.

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​​Whether he would use his signature campaign phrase "radical Islamic terrorism" to describe the threat was unclear. His speech was still being worked on late on Saturday, and some advisers were cautioning him against using the term.

Saudi Arabia is the first stop on Trump's initial foreign trip, a nine-day journey through the Middle East and Europe.

Trump drew the ire of Muslims during his presidential campaign by calling for a ban on them entering the United States. His attempt early in his presidency to ban people from seven Muslim-majority nations has been blocked by the courts.

The speech comes as Trump tries to escape the fallout from his May 9 firing of former FBI Director James Comey amid accusations he was trying to stop a federal investigation into his campaign's ties with Russia last year.

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President Trump in Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip
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President Trump in Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (C) welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd L) with a coffee ceremony in the Royal Terminal after he arrived aboard Air Force One at King Khalid Airport International in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (C) welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and first lady Melania Trump (R) to a tea ceremony in the Royal Terminal after they arrived aboard Air Force One at King Khalid Airport International in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih (L) arrives to attend the Saudi-US CEO Forum 2017 ahead of the arrival of the U.S. President Donald Trump, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (C, in brown and white) welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and first lady Melania Trump (top, 3-R) with a military honor cordon after they arrived aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they arrive aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House senior advisor Jared Kushner (C) and his wife Ivanka Trump walk on the tarmac after arriving with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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The New York Times reported Trump called Comey a "nut job" in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week. The Washington Post said the probe had reached into the White House to include a Trump adviser, who was not named.

Trump showed little sign of the pressure during a day of diplomacy on Saturday during which he was warmly welcomed by Saudi King Salman.

At a royal banquet on Saturday night, Trump walked into a colorful spectacle: Men in ceremonial dress and carrying swords chanted in unison to beating drums in a courtyard. Trump, clearly enjoying himself, smiled and swayed, even seeming to dance a little at the center of the group.

A strong breeze later blew sand through the area.

Trump on Sunday is to meet leaders of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council as part of his effort to counter Iran with a NATO-like Arab force.

Trump and the leaders will also establish a center aimed at cracking down on the ability of Islamic militants to spread their message.

He will meet individually with the leaders of Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Kuwait and Oman. (Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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