Romney blasts Trump, Pompeo response to Saudis: 'Inconsistent' with 'American greatness'

Sen.-elect Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGOP senator says Trump commuting Stone was a 'mistake' Roger Stone joins list of political figures, allies granted clemency by Trump Romney blasts Trump's Stone commutation: 'Historic corruption' MORE (R-Utah) on Wednesday condemned President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' MORE's and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Amazon backtracks, says email asking employees to delete TikTok was sent in error Amazon asks employees to delete TikTok from mobile devices: report MORE's latest comments about journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing, calling them "inconsistent" with the U.S. national interest.

"The President's and Secretary of State's Khashoggi statements to date are inconsistent with an enduring foreign policy, with our national interest, with basic human rights, and with American greatness," Romney said in a statement.

"Sanctions do not necessarily require ending the alliance; they do demand real and painful consequence," he added. 

Romney blasted Trump's response after the president indicated that the Saudis would not face severe punishment for Khashoggi's death last month.

ADVERTISEMENT

The CIA has reportedly concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's killing inside the country's consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

But Trump on Tuesday refused to blame the Saudi crown prince for the journalist's murder.

Khashoggi was a Virginia resident and worked as a columnist for The Washington Post. He entered the consulate to obtain documents for his marriage to a Turkish woman, but was killed by a 15-man team that then dismembered his body.

"Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn't!" Trump said in his statement Tuesday, adding that "we may never know" who was responsible.

The Trump administration has said it will impose sanctions on 17 Saudis accused of coordinating and executing the plot to kill Khashoggi. That group included a former top aide to the crown prince and the Saudi consul general in Istanbul.

But Trump has rebuffed calls for harsher punishment directed at the crown prince.

The president pledged on Tuesday to remain "steadfast" with Saudi Arabia, saying, "If we abandon Saudi Arabia, it would be a terrible mistake."

"Right now, we have oil prices in great shape. I'm not going to destroy the world economy and I'm not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia," he told reporters.

Pompeo concurred in his own remarks later in the day, appearing to brush off the event as part of a "nasty world."

"It’s a mean, nasty world out there, the Middle East in particular," Pompeo said. "This is a long, historic commitment and one that is absolutely vital to American national security."