President Donald Trump’s affinity for murderous dictators is well-established at this point, but now there’s more evidence in the form of contents from the upcoming new book from longtime journalist Bob Woodward. In the book, Woodward reveals that at one point, Trump bragged to him about having “saved” Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from Congressional scrutiny. The Crown Prince, otherwise known as MBS, is believed to have ordered the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was assassinated at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Trump chose to prioritize the Saudis’ economic relationship to the U.S. in the wake of the violence.
Referring to MBS, Trump said:
‘I saved his ass. I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop.’
Specifically, Trump has undertaken steps like his veto of a piece of legislation with bipartisan backing that would have ended U.S. support for the Saudis in their fight against rebels in Yemen, where the Saudi forces have already killed local civilians with U.S.-made weaponry. The Trump administration has also pushed through arms sales worth about $8 billion to Saudi Arabia and its ally, the United Arab Emirates. The Trump team declared a national emergency underpinned the arms sale, which they used as an excuse to conduct the transactions without Congressional involvement, despite concerns about the weapons going towards violence against civilians.
At the time of his recent firing, the State Department’s inspector general, Steve Linick, was investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s handling of the Saudi arms sale issue. Although a subsequent report from the department’s inspector general’s office apparently concluded that Pompeo abided by legal standards surrounding the emergency declaration, that same report concluded “that the State Department failed to fully assess the humanitarian risks of selling the weapons to the Gulf nations” and “did not take steps needed to reduce civilian casualties and limit possible legal liability associated with selling the arms,” The New York Times reports.
As for Trump and MBS, the president lauded the leader’s denials of a role in the Khashoggi killing and, as mentioned, focused on the economic issues. Trump commented to Woodward:
‘He will always say that he didn’t do it. He says that to everybody, and frankly I’m happy that he says that. But he will say that to you, he will say that to Congress, and he will say that to everybody. He’s never said he did it… He says very strongly that he didn’t do it. Bob, they spent $400 billion over a fairly short period of time… They wouldn’t last a week if we’re not there, and they know it.’
Apparently then, that’s a sum that’s big enough to make Trump willing to overlook the brutal murder of a journalist who caught the attention of a murderous dictator who Trump sounds ready and eager to protect.
Is there a dictator in the world who Trump isn’t willing to blindly capitulate to? Trump is the president of the United States and selling out the country.