Did Biden Challenge Saudi Crown Prince on Khashoggi Murder?
Biden is still maintaining that he confronted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed ben Salman over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But Saudi Arabia is pushing back on that claim from the White House administration.
Biden, who was photographed fist bumping the crown prince while visiting his kingdom, pledged while he was running for the office to treat Saudi Arabia like a “pariah” state.
And during a press conference following his mangled trip, Biden said that he “raised” Khashoggi’s murder “at the top of the meeting, making it clear what I thought of it at the time and what I think of it now.”
Biden also said, “And it was exactly — I was straightforward and direct in discussing it. I made my view crystal clear. I said very straightforwardly: For an American President to be silent on an issue of human rights, is this consistent with — inconsistent with who we are and who I am? I’ll always stand up for our values.”
The president claimed later that he told the crown prince that he “thought” he was responsible for the murder.
Mohammed ben Salman denied responsibility and said all parties that were involved in the murder were brought to justice.
The Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, was in the meeting between the two world leaders. He told media from the United States that he “didn’t hear” Biden make any remarks about the murder.
I asked @AdelAljubeir, who was in the meeting with MBS, whether @POTUS' characterization of how he accused MBS of being responsible for Khashoggi's murder was accurate. @AdelAljubeir told me, "I didn't hear that exchange, that particular exchange…
— Nick Schifrin (@nickschifrin) July 15, 2022
Another Saudi foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, told CNN, “These are issues, mistakes that happen in any country, including the United States.” The Crown Prince pointed out that the US has made its own mistakes and has taken the necessary action to hold those responsible accountable and address these mistakes just as the kingdom has.
When Biden was asked about what the leaders from Saudi Arabia said, he responded that they were lying.