Trump ends nine-day overseas trip with a flourish as trouble looms at home

SIGONELLA, Italy (Reuters) - With trouble facing him back home, U.S. President Donald Trump ended his nine-day overseas journey in dramatic fashion on Saturday, addressing U.S. troops at a campaign-style rally.

Trump flipped traditional U.S. foreign policy upside down on his tour through the Middle East and Europe, coddling Middle Eastern leaders with questionable human rights records while demanding traditional European allies pay more for their defense.

At a Group of Seven summit in the resort town of Taormina on the island of Sicily, Trump refused to entreaties from the other six allies to maintain U.S. support for the Paris climate agreement, insisting he needed more time to make up his mind.

Click through images of President Donald Trump attending the G7 summit:

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President Donald Trump attends the G7 summit
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President Donald Trump attends the G7 summit
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at Sigonella Air Force Base at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive aboard Air Force One at Sigonella Air Force Base at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump (C) is greeted by Italy's Chief of Protocol Riccardo Guariglia (L) as he arrives aboard Air Force One at Sigonella Air Force Base at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy, May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
US President Donald Trump arrives for the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, the group of most industrialized economies, plus the European Union, on May 26, 2017 at the ancient Greek Theater in Taormina, Sicily. The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and Italy will be joined by representatives of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia during the summit from May 26 to 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Miguel MEDINA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and U.S. President Donald Trump talk as he arrives at the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
From R-L, U.S. President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Britain?s Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Council President Donald Tusk arrive for a family photo during the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
From L-R, European Council President Donald Tusk, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Britain?s Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pose for a family photo during the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
From L-R, European Council President Donald Tusk, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe react during a family photo during the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) waves beside U.S. President Donald Trump during a bilateral meeting at the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
From L-R, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, U.S. President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Britain?s Prime Minister Theresa May gather as they attend the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump walks during the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
(L-R) The President of the European Council Donald Tusk, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, U.S. President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni pose after watching an Italian flying squadron as part of the G7 Summit in Taormina, Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Stephane De Sakutin/Pool
G7 Summit members, President of the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (L), U.S. President Donald Trump (L Rear), Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R Rear) and President of the European Council Donald Tusk (R) attend the first working session in Taormina in Sicily, Italy, May 26, 2017. REUTERS/Eliot Blondet/Pool
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In a hangar at Naval Air Station Sigonella, which is also on Sicily, Trump was introduced by his wife Melania, who has raised eyebrows during the trip by twice flicking away her husband's hand when he tried to hold hers.

"My husband worked very hard on this trip and I am very proud of him," she said.

Trump, whose Marine One helicopter landed from Taormina to the soaring soundtrack of the "Air Force One" movie, emerged from two days of closed door summitry to declare his trip a success.

Trump said he had helped forge more international cooperation in the fight against Islamist militants, a threat he said was underscored by a suicide bomber in Manchester, England, and the killing of Coptic Christians in Egypt.

"It was a tremendously productive meeting where I strengthen American bonds," said Trump. "We have great bonds with other countries and, with some of our closest allies, we concluded a truly historic week."

Trump skipped the traditional end-of-trip news conference to avoid facing questions about a host of problems he faces upon his return to Washington later on Saturday.

His May 9 firing of former FBI Director James Comey has raised concerns about whether he was trying to squelch a federal probe into his campaign's ties with Russia last year.

The questions have been intensified in the wake of disclosures on Friday that a senior adviser, Jared Kushner, the husband of Trump's daughter Ivanka, had contacts with the Russians in December about opening a secret back channel of communications with Moscow.

Trump used his trip to promote "America First" policies, promoting $110 billion worth of arms sales to Saudi Arabia and telling G-7 allies that the United States needs a more level playing field on trade.

His body language on the trip demonstrated his typically brash behavior, dramatized by his demands that NATO allies pay more for their defense and his refusal to explicitly declare that the United States backs Article 5 of the alliance's charter, which requires each member to come to the defense of each other.

His pushing aside of the prime minister of Montenegro to get in place for a family photo generated headlines across Europe.

At Sigonella, Trump said his appeals to NATO allies to pay more was working.

"Money is starting to flow in," he said. "It's only fair to the United States. We're behind NATO all the way. But we want to be treated fairly."

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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