Schiff says Biden should not meet Saudi’s Crown Prince this summer: ‘He should be shunned’
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Sunday said President Biden should not move forward with a plan to meet with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman this summer, saying the royal leader “should be shunned” for his role in the 2018 killing of a Washington Post journalist and other human rights violations.
Schiff told CBS’ “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan that although he wants gas prices to drop as much as anyone else, he didn’t think it was wise to meet with the Crown Prince in a desperate bid to increase oil supply.
“I wouldn’t shake his hand,” Schiff said. “This is someone who butchered an American resident, cut them up into pieces in the most terrible, premeditated way. Until Saudi Arabia makes a radical change in terms of human rights, I wouldn’t want anything to do with them.”
Gas prices have skyrocketed this year and continue to climb, reaching a record high national average of $4.85 per gallon on Sunday, according to AAA.
The Biden administration — looking to offset prices after cutting off oil imports from Russia over the war in Ukraine — has signaled an interest in the president meeting with the Crown Prince this summer, a source familiar with the negotiations told The Hill last week.
The White House is reportedly eyeing a broader trip to the Middle Easy in July.
Saudi Arabia is one of the largest exporters of oil in the world and an influential member of oil producing alliance OPEC.
Warmer relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia could pave the way for increased output from the alliance and lower energy prices worldwide, but a meeting between the leaders would also go back on Biden’s campaign promise to isolate the powerful Gulf leader.
Riyadh has come under intense scrutiny for a number of human rights concerns.
Families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 tragedy are suspicious of the Saudi government and the nation’s alleged role in the attacks on the Twin Towers. The 2018 brutal slaying of Washington Post journalist and American citizen Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey only increased anger against the Middle Eastern country.
The Crown Prince’s regime has also come under fire for a mass execution of prisoners in March and fueling a civil war crisis in Yemen.
The war in Ukraine has worsened oil flow around the world after Russia, the world’s third-largest oil producing nation, was largely cut off from the international markets. The war has been especially hard for Europe, which has long relied on Russia for its oil.
In March, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in a bid to get more oil, drawing backlash from critics accusing him of pandering to dictators.
Schiff on Sunday said while he understands the need to work with Saudi Arabia, he does not believe the U.S. should be extending its hand to world leaders accused of human rights violations.
“I understand the degree to which Saudi Arabia controls oil prices. I think that’s a compelling argument to wean ourselves off a reliance on foreign oil and oil more globally, so we don’t have despots and murderers calling the shots,” Schiff said. “I think he should be shunned.”