First Lady didn’t wear head scarf when visiting Saudi Arabia

First Lady Michelle Obama joined the diplomatic group to meet the new king of Saudi Arabia, and it's what she didn't wear that's causing a bit of a stir. The First Lady chose not to wear a head scarf, upsetting some in Saudi Arabia. Was it disrespectful? Was it liberating for women? Glenn debated the issue on radio this morning.

GLENN: Welcome to the program. I want to start with Michelle Obama over in Saudi Arabia. And I -- I think we should have an adult conversation here, if you will, and one where we think out loud and we're allowed to -- we're allowed to disagree with each other. That's a crazy thought. Michelle Obama went over and they were meeting the king of Saudi Arabia, the new king of Saudi Arabia. So he goes over and there's this big welcoming committee. And the women in Saudi Arabia are asked to veil their heads and to you know -- you go to the Vatican, you go to -- you go to Jerusalem, and in some places, you wear a yamaka, you wear a veil. You don't wear a skirt that is showing anything above the knee. Some places you're supposed to wear a skirt all the way to the ground. And that's the way it is in Saudi Arabia. So Michelle Obama goes and she has bare arms and she doesn't wish a veil. Now, in Saudi Arabia, you're not as a foreigner required to veil your head or your face. But it is customary, especially when you're going to meet the king.

This would be like somebody going over and saying, I don't bow to the -- I don't bow to the queen. I'm not going to curtsy to Queen Elizabeth. There are certain customs that you do. Okay. So she goes over and she's decided not to veil her head and she wears bare-armed dress.

PAT: It's because she has fabulous arms.

GLENN: Yeah, no offense.

PAT: You don't want to cover those June so now she's being hailed by the left as a champion of women's rights. Okay. I guess actually it shows here, I'm seeing a picture. She doesn't have the bare arms. I thought she had the bare arms. But she didn't veil her head. Okay. That's fine. Some men came and shook her hand, some people didn't.

It's just like yesterday I was with the chief rabbi of England. I met his aide. It's a woman. I was foolish. I reached out. I put my hand -- she was gracious. She reached out. She shook my hand and as she shook my hand I'm thinking to myself, what an idiot. She does not want to shake my hand. But she was being gracious.

STU: Why, because that's --

GLENN: Tradition. Yeah, when you're -- orthodox Jew, men and women don't shake hands. You don't touch -- like rabbi Le Pen. He used to give his wife a hug. I'm a hugger and I'm like, hey, and I give her a big hug. And she's like, that's great. That's so good. Until finally, somebody came to me and said, Glenn, you're driving them out of their minds. She doesn't touch other men.

(laughing)

GLENN: And so you just don't do that. You just don't to that. But gracious people will do what this woman did yesterday and gracious people did what they did with her with Saudi Arabia and shook her hand. Okay. I'm really actually glad that Michelle Obama did not change who she was in front of the king. So part of me says, look, we don't veil -- we don't veil our faces. However, we're in their house. You've been invited to go to their house. It's like if I come over to your house and you're like -- you know, here. I go over to Penn Jillette house. I'm not going to bring my Bible and start talking to his kids about Jesus. You know what I mean? I'm not going to come in and say, excuse me, excuse me, excuse me. We all have to pray before this meal. I'm at Penn Jillette's house. Now, if Penn Jillette's comes over to my house, I am going say a prayer for my meal. I'll say it quietly to myself without being obnoxious, without trying to make a point in his home. That's just the way it is. We're over in their house. They say we're not at war with Islam. The reason why they veil their faces is out of deference to Allah. It is their religion that tells them to veil their faces. You're in their house, in their country, operating under their traditions, saluting their new king. You say that you don't have a problem with Islam. And yet you won't follow the Islamic teachings in their house. They say that -- you know, no, no, they just have a problem with our -- they just have a problem with us as Americans, because of the way we live our life. We're too decadent. So then you go over and you're in their face going, yep, you see my whole face. How turned on are you now? So I'm really torn. Because I'm glad that we don't change who we are. However, in their house, I think was a mistake.

STU: Yeah, I mean, it seems like if it's really strict. You said it was optional for foreigners to do it.

PAT: I don't think it is when it comes to diplomatic protocol. I think when you go there as a --

GLENN: The president of the United States.

PAT: On an official visit or whatever.

STU: For that event as well, where it's just -- you know -- the death of a leader.

GLENN: You're going to meet the new king. It's like -- you know, you meet -- you go over the queen and you somehow or another, you know, you're shopping and there's the queen next to you. You don't necessarily have to follow all the protocol. But if you're going to Buckingham palace, you're going to be schooled in protocol on exactly what to do and not to do with the keen.

STU: And past first ladies -- have veiled themselves.

STU: Veiled themselves. You think you'd stick with tradition. We always criticize people who are -- especially feminists and gay activists for not standing up. You know -- for criticizing people -- I hear about the little things that they complain about here as compared to the real stuff that goes on in countries like that and maybe just say, hey, you know what, you won't give driver's license to women. We're not going to fold into that environment.

PAT: But they almost did.

STU: He did try to do it but --

(overlapping speakers)

GLENN: It was really hard. When you can --

PAT: Really hard.

GLENN: When you're the guy who can only behead people.

STU: Right.

GLENN: You know, for not following your rules.

STU: Right.

PAT: Surely you can't just give them to go out and drive. No, you can't do that.

GLENN: No.

(laughing)

GLENN: So I don't know.

STU: I'm with you. I think you probably should do it. But I'm a little torn on it.

PAT: I think we're all torn. She's going to get criticism either way.

GLENN: Yeah.

PAT: From somebody. Right?

GLENN: Of course. And she's going to get praise either way. Here's where I come down on this. I think she should receive the praise for doing -- for doing who she is and saying, I think this is important. So I think we should have the praise for Michelle Obama. But we should also look at that and say, was that the wisest thing to do in this time -- at this time with an ally who is really kind of shaky.

PAT: And here's another --

GLENN: In Middle East.

PAT: Another interesting side note to this. On a trip a little while ago to Indonesia, she wore the headdress. She wore it. So why cover up in Indonesia but not in Saudi Arabia? What -- that doesn't make any sense. Saudi Arabia is a much more important alley, I would think, than Indonesia is.

STU: Also, with a new king --

GLENN: Indonesia --

PAT: Who is?

GLENN: Barack Obama.

PAT: Lived there.

GLENN: But I mean he's very well versed in the customs and the people of Indonesia.

PAT: Yeah, but they know the custom is similar in Saudi Arabia, so why would you cover up in one place and not the other?

GLENN: Because maybe he's not as much of a fan of Saudi Arabia as he is of Indonesia.

PAT: I think that's what they're trying to show here.

STU: And the anti-Americans in Saudi Arabia are looking for a way to overthrow that family all the time. And to give them sort of another thing to argue about, saying, look, you know, he's allowing this woman to come in here and she's not even covered, do you believe this, that's the type of pressure they talk about. This is in all seriousness that he couldn't do things like the driver's license out of nowhere. They talk about how the king wanted to do things like that, but the religious hard-liners in the country were so strict that if he did a lot of it at once, he could be overthrown and that's why --

PAT: He had some time.

STU: He was only 90. I mean, he died at 90.

GLENN: He was right in his prime.

PAT: And he took over in early '90s? Somewhere in there, mid '90s?

GLENN: Here's the thing. The world is on fire with Islamic extremists. And this is only going to piss them off even more. This kind of thing -- this may not mean anything really to us. We may not think that this is a big deal. But it is a big deal to them. And it is also I think -- it weakens the king, because those hard-line extremists that said, you want -- you want women to drive, what? He's welcoming this woman in and those hard-line extremists say, see, this is guy is weak. I mean, the first thing in, you slap him across the face and make it difficult for him with the hard-line extremists.

PAT: Another side --

GLENN: Look at this. If you're watching on the BlazeTV, you're seeing in Indonesia she's got the full Muslim headdress. And she looks like she's just going to a summer party in Saudi Arabia.

PAT: And I --

GLENN: And that's really remarkable.

PAT: What's interesting about this, too, is I'm looking at one of the headlines from the Indonesia thing, and it says, Michelle Obama wears head scarf honoring Indonesian culture. Too much? Well, so, you know. She can't win.

GLENN: No --

PAT: It's a tough decision. She wore it once and not -- correct. See if anybody can find the pictures of her when she went to -- what was the big mosque in Spain? Do you remember when she took the girls?

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: And she went to the big mosque in Spain? Let's find all the times she's worn the headdress. So if question is why wouldn't you wear it this time?

She's not wearing it this time because she wants to send a message. Now, it could be that now -- well well, no because she was in Indonesia.

STU: Maybe she didn't have a headdress that matched her out fit. Is that possible?

PAT: I think it is possible.

GLENN: Doesn't the woman travel with designers? Sometimes -- I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a loom now in Air Force One. But -- so maybe it's just like, hey, we're in our last couple of years. I don't really care what anybody thinks. I'm just going to be who I am. So there's a possibility. But when did she go to Indonesia? That was just now, right?

PAT: It was not too long ago.

GLENN: So I mean, she's just done that. So that doesn't make sense. So you would have to ask yourself, if she's done this every single time, why is she -- why is she picking this event, which is honoring a new king, which you really would like Saudi Arabia to be stable, why would you go in and pick this time to slap them across the face?

STU: You know, I don't know the answer to that. Maybe -- you know, I would not be entirely stunned if they just didn't put that much thought into it. I mean, while -- look -- again, like we talk about how bad their diplomatic procedures have been over the years. I mean, sending copies of speeches for --

GLENN: But only to the queen.

STU: The only the queen, right. The reset button. They can't even get the word "reset" right --

GLENN: But only Russia.

STU: This has been a long series of diplomatic failures by this administration. This could just be another one.

PAT: Anything is possible with these two.

GLENN: However, however, however, I said this to somebody the other day. We talked about it on the air, too. You can't be this wrong. Really. I mean, honestly. I'd love a Vegas oddsmaker to tell me what are the odds of being this wrong where it always falls into -- on to the side of revolution, bolstering Islamic extremism, hurting the United States of America. I mean, every time. You can say that they're sloppy, but every time it works not to be in our favor.

STU: Oopsie.

GLENN: How many times before we start saying oopsie.

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