Media

Trump suggests Biden took 'similar' approach in Khashoggi killing

Former President Trump on Sunday said that he thinks President Biden is likely weighing his reaction to the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi against America's relationship with Saudi Arabia, saying the approach is similar to the one he took with the case.

"It's unfortunate that the whole incident took place," Trump said in response to a question from Steve Hilton in an appearance on Fox News's "The Next Revolution" after the end of CPAC.

"But we have to look at it as an overall [situation]," he continued, adding that he thinks the Biden administration is "viewing it maybe in a similar fashion, very interesting actually."

On Friday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a long-awaited report confirming it found Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - the day-to-day ruler of the kingdom - approved the operation to strangle and dismember Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia's Turkish consulate in 2018.

But while the Biden administration followed the release of the report with sanctions against some of those involved in the assassination - and visa restrictions against others thought to have threatened dissidents - there have been so far no U.S. repercussions for the crown prince.

On Friday, in response to the controversy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters that the American "relationship with Saudi Arabia is bigger than any one individual."

And Trump echoed Blinken's sentiments in his Sunday interview, stating that America's relationship with Saudi Arabia, as well as job-generating multibillion-dollar arms deals, have to be taken into account when responding to Khashoggi's murder.

"They've really been a very strong ally. And they spend [a] tremendous amount of money in the United States buying equipment that they don't have to buy from us," Trump said. "We make the best equipment by far. But they could buy it from Russia. They could buy it from China. They could buy it from France. There are other people that make equipment like they want to buy."

When asked Friday about his administration's approach to Saudi Arabia, Biden told a Univision reporter that he had spoken with Saudi Arabia's king about the issue and added that the administration would soon be taking more action.

"I spoke yesterday with the king, not the prince. Made it clear to him that the rules are changing, and we're going to be announcing significant changes today and on Monday. We are going to hold them accountable for human rights abuses," Biden said. "This report has been sitting there, the last administration wouldn't even release it. We immediately, when I got in, filed the report, read it, got it, and released it today."

Outbrain