Prince Mohammed bin Salman
President Trump today trashed any amount of decency and integrity that he may have had.
He accomplished that feat by releasing an extraordinary eight-paragraph statement in which he rejected the Central Intelligence Agency's finding that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave the order to murder dissident and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi last month.
In the mind-numbing statement, the president let the unhinged Prince off the hook for his role in the grisly killing of a resident of the US.
Throwing the moral standing of this country under the bus, Trump implied that any action against the Prince would jeopardize that $450B in contracts that he claims to have negotiated during his trip to Saudi Arabia. Dollars before principles.
While $450B is a headline number, the American Enterprise Institute says the size of the US economy was $19.2T in 2017. The upshot: the US economy wouldn't skip a beat if the Saudis pull the plug on US deal.
But how about adding a dose of reality to TrumpWorld?
Nonsensically, Trump's statement reads, "If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries—and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business," as if those countries could supply the Kingdom with replacement parts and training required for the US-made weapons systems already in place, or sell hardware that matches the level of America's technical sophistication.
Trump flat out took the word of King Salman and a 33-year-old Prince, who is in way over his head, that they had nothing to do with the torture, murder and dismemberment of Khashoggi.
"Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could be very well be that Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event—maybe he did, and maybe he didn't," said the statement. He did, Donald.
Sowing seeds of doubt is standard operating procedure for the president, whether it is climate change, Putin meddling in the 2016 election or Middle East terrorists hitching rides in the Central American caravan.
The "Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Standing with Saudi Arabia" is a flat-out disgrace and affront to the conscience of the American people. Historians will analyze it as the day that America walked away from global justice and accoutability
The statement leads any fair-minded observer to wonder what the Saudis have on Trump, who boasted on the campaign trail that the Saudis shell out $30M to $40M for Trump condos.
Trump's statement reinforces the need for the release of his tax returns. The country should thank its lucky stars that the Democrats took control of the House in this month's election. Let the subpoenas fly!
Trump began and ended his statement with "America First!"
"Saudi Arabia First!" would be been more fitting.
Or even better, "Donald J. Trump First!"