Trump Saudi spin puts American principles last: Darcy cartoon

November 25, 2018

Trump Saudi spin puts American principles last: Darcy cartoon

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- President Trump pardoned the turkeys Peas and Carrots for Thanksgiving and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for any involvement in the horrific murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and contributing writer for The Washington Post. 

Trump would have the world believe Americans are more concerned with cheap gas pouring into their cars than an American resident and member of the free press being tortured, killed, dismembered and dissolved in an acid bath at the hands of the same nation where the 9/11 attackers came from.

The CIA had concluded that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Khashoggi.  The New York Times reported, “the CIA made the assessment based on the crown prince’s control of Saudi Arabia, which is such that the killing would not have taken place without his approval, and has buttressed its conclusion with two sets of crucial communications: intercepts of the crown prince’s calls in the days before the killing, and calls by the kill team to a senior aide to the crown prince.”

In a lengthy written statement, President Trump sided with the Saudis, not the CIA, choosing not to hold the crown prince accountable, due to U.S. economic and security interests.

America First in a dangerous world?

Trump opened his statement with his “America First!” exclamation.  He then proceeded to declare that the world wakes up feeling dangerous!  But not in a Baker Mayfield vs the Atlanta Falcons football game sort of way.

The world is so dangerous you can be killed and dismembered just going to get marriage paperwork in a Saudi consulate.   Nasty stuff happens.  That’s what bogus bone spur deferments are for.    Better to get married in Vegas and honeymoon in a Trump hotel.

As bad as Khashoggi’s death was in the Saudi consulate, Iran and Hezbollah are far worse, Trump assures us, and we need Saudi Arabia to combat them. 

Plus, Trump argues, we can’t afford to lose $billions in Saudi arms purchases to Russia and China.  And we should appreciate how the Saudis are keeping the price of oil lower.

Just as Trump notes that Putin denies interfering in the U.S. election, he notes that “King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi.”  Trump concedes, “it could be very well that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event,” but then decides that’s iffy, “maybe he did and maybe he did it!”

Trump gives credence to Saudi smears of Khashoggi by repeating them in his official statement.  “Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an ‘enemy of the state’ and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that.”

The president would also like you to believe his decision in no way based on the economic interests of the Trump family.

As president, Trump has denied any financial interests in Saudi Arabia, but here are some statements he made during presidential campaign rallies in 2015:

“Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me.  They spend $40 million, $50 million.”

“Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”

“I make a lot of money from them.”

“They buy all sorts of my stuff.  All kinds of toys from Trump.  They pay me millions and hundreds of millions.”

In 2001, the Saudi government bought an entire floor in the Trump World Tower for $4.5 million.

When Trump was in financial crises in 1991, he sold a yacht he bought for a reported $29 million, at a loss for $20 million to a Saudi prince.

The Art of a Bad Deal.

With his Saudi-Khashoggi position statement, Trump is again demonstrating what a bad negotiator he can really be.

On U.S.-Saudi arms deals, the U.S. holds all the chips.   Saudi Arabia can’t turn to Russia or China, as Trump claims, because Russian and China armaments won’t mesh with the American made systems that make up the Saudi fleet.

Trump was right when he wrote, “our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”  And there is no denying that they are a pivotal player in U.S. mideast strategy.  

Where Trump is wrong, veteran diplomats argue, is that Trump and Pompeo are in position to make it clear to Saudi King Salman, that while they want the U.S.-Saudi relationship to continue, it can’t be business as usual as long as crown prince Mohammed bin Salman in charge.   If the U.S. had sent that message, the Saudi’s would have taken care of the MBS themselves.

Instead, the message Trump has sent to the crown prince is that he can continue to act recklessly, to do whatever he wants, and get away with it.   

Trump has sent the same message to the Saudi’s that he sent to Putin, that he is like a gullible and easily manipulated dog. 

America doesn’t come first for Trump.  For Trump, American principles trail behind Russian and Saudi Arabian values.   Trump family economic interests come first.

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