‘Maybe He Did and Maybe He Didn’t!’: Trump Bows to Saudi Crown Prince on Khashoggi Killing

Saudi Arabia
Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump issued a truly bizarre statement that was ostensibly meant to address the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi but instead read like a proxy love letter to Saudi Arabia and its crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman.

Usually, the presidential statements that wind their way out of the White House are boring bits of policy meant to placate journalists who want the executive branch to at least say something recognizing a major issue. But Tuesday’s statement was peppered with exclamation points, and it was impossible not to read it in Trump’s voice.

“The world is a very dangerous place!” Trump’s statement began, and it got weirder from there. He began with some healthy whataboutism, comparing the disgusting human rights abuses of Iran to the relatively tame journalist-murdering of Saudi Arabia.

He then reminded readers that he got the Saudis to agree to invest $450 billion in the U.S. before finally turning to Jamal Khashoggi.

“The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one,” Trump wrote. “[…] We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body.”

Then Trump parroted the Saudis’ talking points, saying that “representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an ‘enemy of the state’ and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

But perhaps the real kicker was when Trump sided with the Saudis over his own intelligence agencies.

“Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump wrote.

Of course, the intelligence community has concluded that Salman ordered Khashoggi’s murder, according to different reports from the Associated Press, ABC, and the Washington Post.

While distressing, it should be a familiar sight for the intelligence communities. After American agencies concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, Trump instead stood next to the Russian president and said that he believed Vladimir Putin’s denials.

The president closed his statement by saying that he believes members of Congress who might seek to punish the Saudis are doing so “for political or other reasons,” and then he defended Saudi oil.

“Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world,” Trump wrote. “They […] have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels.”

In a blistering editorial, Khashoggi’s editor, Karen Attiah, wrote that “Trump is doing his best to help the Saudi regime get away with the murder of a U.S. resident.”

She titled her piece “Trump’s defense of Khashoggi’s Saudi murderers will stain him (and America) forever.”

Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.

What do you think?

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KhyberRifle
Member
KhyberRifle

I’m entirely missing the point of the news outlets including BBC last night with the most shallow, pointy-head squeaky-voiced analysis imaginable, , indignantly and self righteously twisting whatever and everything they can about the Khashoggi killing to make the killing, it’s aftermath, and the social and legal responses of the… Read more »

Phoenix
Member
Phoenix

It took you awhile to finally get to talk about fingers in butts – which based on your post has to have been your goal as there isn’t any other substance.

Maybe you can clarify how the President’s response to the situation has nothing to do with the President?

Phyllis Softa
Member
Phyllis Softa

Phoenix, you are intelligent enough to realize that the search for logic in a Trumpster’s defense of Trump is a fools game. It is the media’s fault for reporting the cringe worthy things Trump says–If the media did not report it, apparently no one would know. Of course, if the… Read more »

Phoenix
Member
Phoenix

Ha i know, i just couldn’t help teasing the original poster, but figured I’d give the chance to clarify. 😉

Happy Thanksgiving Phyllis!

Michael
Member
Michael

Fool.

Phyllis Softa
Member
Phyllis Softa

To borrow a phrase, Maybe he is and Maybe he isn’t. He stated that the Saudis give him multi-millions for his businesses—bail him out of bankruptcy, rent entire floor of his hotels, and in Trump’s words “Buy his toys.” why would he NOT sell American values to the highest bidder… Read more »

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