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Bethan McKernan بيثان @mck_beth
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I got leaked a copy of MBS' two-week US trip itinerary and it is jam-packed. He’s meeting every past and present luminary you can imagine - the one I think is most interesting, though, is Oprah Winfrey. /1…
Oprah is a global cultural and political force. As one analyst I spoke to for this story put it, “When you meet with Oprah, you’re seeking the approval of an opinion maker. You’re going into people’s homes and reaching deep into American culture.” /2
There has been a concerted PR drive during the prince’s world tour, inc billboard campaigns, newspaper ads, a weird pro-Saudi mag (US) and an i/v with 60 Minutes. He is keen to rehabilitate the Kingdom's image in the eyes of the public in a way no older Saudi ruler has ever been.
There is also a noticeable bipartisan effort in the political meets: On Tuesday alone in NYC, MBS met Henry Kissinger, the Clintons, Chuck Schumer, Antonio Guterres and Michael Bloomberg. The US-Saudi relationship is long and intimate, extending far beyond the Trump admin /4
As well as major figures in current admin, also on his list: Obama, John Kerry, David Petraeus, Condoleezza Rice and a visit to George W Bush’s Texas ranch.

Outside politics: Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Tim Cook, Boeing, Amazon, Uber, Walt Disney, Lockheed Martin. /5
Lots of media meets: Rupert Murdoch, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, the editorial boards of the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle. Oh, and another dinner with Thomas Friedman. /6
In many ways this itinerary is par for the course: the US is deeply invested in the stability of KSA's ruling family. When Salman was crowned King in 2015, Barack Obama, who was on a trip to India, changed his plans and took his entire delegation to Riyadh to pay his respects.
What is notable is the sheer scale and ambition of this trip: no political, security, business, oil, faith, tech, entertainment or media stone has been left unturned. /8
And... Oprah 2020?
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