Trump Praises Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Refuses To Implicate Him In Killing Of Jamal Khashoggi
President Donald Trump praised Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman during the G20 summit on Friday while refusing to accuse the prince of being complicit in the murder of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Trump and Prince Mohammed shared breakfast during the annual meeting of world leaders, which is always a chaotic time for America’s standoffish president. While Prince Mohammed had been isolated during last years G20 summit after he was implicated in the brutal assassination of Washington Post journalist Khashoggi, this year Trump has welcomed him with open arms.
During a news conference on Saturday, the president stated that he had mentioned the killing during his private conversation with the Saudi leader, who had responded by asserting that 13 people were being prosecuted for the crime. “He’s very angry about it,” Trump said. “He’s very unhappy about it.”
The president did not give any inclination that he had confronted the Saudi leader about the slaughter, even though there is a consensus among top CIA officials that Prince Mohammed must have had a role in the murder. “I can’t comment on the intelligence community. I guess I’m allowed to declassify … but the truth is I don’t want to talk about intelligence,” said the president when prodded about the conclusion of his own nation’s intelligence agency.
Trump has repeatedly refused to comment on the CIA’s assertion that the crown prince had a hand in the journalist’s disappearance, even though other international bodies such as the United Nations agree with the agency’s assessment. He continued to avoid the subject when addressing the press before his breakfast with the Saudi leader. Ignoring questions such as “Mr. President, will [you] address the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, sir, with the crown prince?” Trump instead chose to discuss his upcoming talks with East Asian leaders such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
President Trump, while meeting with Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman at G-20, declines to answer question about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. pic.twitter.com/cNogKU9LcF
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 29, 2019
In addition to dodging the issue of Khashoggi’s killing, Trump went on to praise Prince Mohammed’s rule. “It’s an honor to be with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, a friend of mine, a man who has really done things in the last five years in terms of opening up Saudi Arabia,” the president said. “And I think especially what you’ve done for women. I’m seeing what’s happening; it’s like a revolution in a very positive way.”