White House defends first lady’s Saudi attire

WASHINGTON – The White House on Wednesday defended first lady Michelle Obama’s attire while in Saudi Arabia.

The first lady met controversy on social media for foregoing a headscarf or veil while in the religiously conservative Saudi nation. Saudi women are required to be covered in public, and most wear the niqab, a full-body covering that leaves only a small slit for eyes.

But the regulations do not apply to foreigners, and Obama did wear loose-fitting clothing that covered her arms and shoulders during her trip as part of a U.S. delegation. 

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said that Obama’s choice in clothing falls in line with what previous first ladies and former American and foreign officials have worn in the kingdom.

He said that she “felt like she was warmly welcomed” by Saudi King Salman, and that they “had a very good discussion that included catching up on their families, and also a new school that the king had built to help 60,000 women get educated.”

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