Trump says stands by Saudi crown prince despite rebuke from Senate
Tehran (KNA) - US President Donald Trump has reiterated that he stands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite a CIA assessment that he personally ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and pressure from fellow Republicans in Congress to rebuke the kingdom’s de facto ruler.
“He’s the leader of Saudi Arabia. They’ve been a very good ally,” Trump said in an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office.
The US president has declined to say whether bin Salman was complicit in the brutal murder of Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist, more than two months ago. He has instead emphasized the importance of America's ties to the oil-rich kingdom.
Asked by Reuters whether supporting Saudi Arabia meant standing by the ambitious prince, Trump said, “Well, at this moment, it certainly does.”
Trump has come under intense pressure from Senate Republicans to condemn the crown prince, known as MbS, but the president has so far looked the other way on the murder.
“You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the command of MbS,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, said last week.
Trump again said on Tuesday that bin Salman, with whom he has cultivated a deep personal relationship, “vehemently denies” any involvement in the killing.