Top Trump ally apologizes for saying US atrocities 'equal or worse' than Khashoggi killing

Tom Barrack, a financier who served as chairman of President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal GOP believes Democrats handing them winning 2022 campaign Former GOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer resigns MORE’s inaugural committee, apologized Wednesday for suggesting the U.S. had committed atrocities that were “equal or worse” than the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was atrocious and is inexcusable. I apologize for not making this clear in my comments earlier this week,” Barrack said in a statement shared by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.

“I have always believed and continue to believe that the United States is the greatest country in the world but our history and our policies in the Middle East have been confusing at times,” he added.

Gulf News reported that Barrack was speaking at the Milken Institute MENA Summit in Abu Dhabi when he suggested that atrocities in any country are "dictated by the rule of law," and that Western nations failed to understand the Saudi government.


“I believe that as a nation we do constantly work to lead by example, and I believe that we still do,” Barrack said in Wednesday's statement. “I apologize for not making it clear at the time that I consider the killing reprehensible.”

Saudi Arabia and its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, have faced intense international scrutiny in the months following Khashoggi's death at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident was an outspoken critic of Saudi leadership, and was last seen entering the consulate on Oct. 2.

The Saudi government initially denied knowledge of Khashoggi's whereabouts, and changed its story multiple times before charging more than a dozen Saudis for their alleged involvement in his murder.

U.S. and international intelligence officials have indicated that the crown prince likely played a role in Khashoggi's death.