WHCA: 'Disturbing' to see Saudis disclose Trump meeting before White House

The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) on Tuesday slammed the White House for a lack of transparency after it failed to disclose President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' MORE's meeting with a Saudi official in the Oval Office.

"A meeting with a foreign leader in the Oval Office should, at the very least, be on the public schedule with a read-out of the meeting released after it is over," WCHA President Jon Karl said in a statement. "This has been the long-standing precedent for presidents of both political parties."

Trump met Monday with Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi vice minister of defense, amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The meeting was not listed on Trump's public schedule, and the White House did not provide a readout of the discussion.

ADVERTISEMENT

News of the meeting broke when Salman shared photos of it on social media.

"It is disturbing to see the government of Saudi Arabia have more transparency than the White House about a meeting with the President in the Oval Office," Karl said in a statement.

The White House has not responded to a request for comment from The Hill about the meeting.

Khalid tweeted that he delivered a message to Trump from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Moments after the WHCA issued its statement, Trump tweeted that he had a "very good meeting" with Khalid to discuss trade, military issues, oil prices and the situation in the Middle East.

The meeting took place days after the U.S. killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps's Quds Force, in a targeted strike in Baghdad. Soleimani oversaw Iranian proxy forces in the region and was one of the country's most prominent officials.

ADVERTISEMENT

The strike has reignited tensions between Washington and Tehran and sparked concerns about a prolonged conflict. Iranian officials have vowed a response, while Trump has threatened to forcefully strike Iran if the country targets Americans or American assets over Soleimani's killing.

Saudi Arabia is one of the United States's key allies in the region and has fought Iran for influence in the Middle East via political and economic disputes and through an ongoing proxy war in Yemen.

Critics have hammered Trump over his relationship with Saudi Arabia, particularly after the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.

The president repeatedly said he accepted the crown prince's denials of any involvement in the death of Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident, citing the importance of the economic relationship between the U.S. and the kingdom.