Donald Trump’s verdict on Mohammed bin Salman having knowledge of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder: “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t” but “our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
There will be no punitive action taken by the administration against Saudi Arabia, as many people suspected because of Trump’s ties to Saudis, according to a statement from the White House.
“The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone. Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body,” the statement reads.
“Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. 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!”
“That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran.”
“The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!”
This is a very unusual and rambling statement that sounds like a conglomeration of tweets. In other words, it is something Trump dictated or wrote himself, exclamation signs and all. Trump is gladly standing by and allowing Saudi Arabia to slide right under the atrocity that a journalist was murdered. He also says that people inside Saudi Arabia has called Khashoggi “an enemy of the state,” as he has called journalists in America.
Reaction on Twitter:
What we know about @realdonaldtrump's business ties to Saudis & the Saudi govt — including the Trump hotel in NYC crediting Saudi travelers for boosting their business this yr. https://t.co/ik4oGwh6EL
— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) November 20, 2018
Dear all U.S. legal permanent residents –
I sure hope no government with financial ties to the President ever strangles you, murders you, and disposes of your body in a way that no one ever finds it. If that happens, sorry, but he will assume his friends weren't involved.
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) November 20, 2018
Journalists and press freedom campaigners tell me President Trump’s stance on Khashoggi’s murder sends a message to anyone in a position of power that it’s okay to kill their critics, as long as they call them enemies of the people.
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) November 20, 2018