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President Obama receives members of the Saudi Royal family, government officials and guests as first lady Michelle Obama and Saudi Arabia's King Salman look on at Erga Palace in Riyadh, January 27, 2015.    REUTERS/Jim Bourg
President Obama receives members of the Saudi Royal family, government officials and guests as first lady Michelle Obama and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman look on at Erga Palace in Riyadh, January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

First lady Michelle Obama faced backlash from Twitter users in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday for not wearing a head covering during her brief visit there with the president.

Obama wore loose-fitting clothes including a long blue jacket and dark pants while accompanying President Barack Obama during their four hours on the ground in Riyadh to offer condolences on the death of King Abdullah and for the president to meet with new King Salman.

On Twitter, Saudis used a hashtag that translates to “#Michelle_Obama_Immodest” or “#Michelle_Obama_NotVeiled” to chastise the first lady for being disrespectful to Saudi traditions.

Saudi Arabia has a strict dress code for women, who are instructed to wear black robes and head coverings at all times in public, though visitors to the country are not required to abide by the dress code. In 2011, when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Abdullah in New York, she did not cover her face or hair. Nor did then-first lady Laura Bush during a 2006 visit with Abdullah in Saudi Arabia.

michelle obama in saudi
President Obama receives members of the Saudi Royal family, government officials and guests as first lady Michelle Obama looks on at Erga Palace in Riyadh, January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

Some on Twitter noted that Obama had covered her hair during a visit to a mosque in Indonesia and wondered why she hadn’t done the same, Egypt’s Ahram Online noted, while one woman urged fellow Saudis not to “make Obama angry at us.”

The first lady’s office had no comment on her attire.

Politico

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