Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Sunday criticized President Joe Biden for having visited Saudi Arabia, saying that his trip “rewarded” a nation that Biden previously stood against for their killing of a Washington Post journalist.
Biden made his visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday where he greeted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with a fist bump shortly after his arrival on the visit. Biden has since been heavily criticized for his visit mostly due to the fact that U.S. intelligence agencies believe the Saudi prince was responsible for ordering the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
When Sanders was asked on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos if Biden should have made the visit, Sanders responded: “No, I don’t think so.”
“You have a leader of the country who was involved in the murder of a Washington Post journalist. I don’t think that type of government should be rewarded with a visit by the president of the United States,” Sanders explained.
“You’ve got a family that is worth $100 billion, which questions democracy, which treats women as third class citizens, which murders and imprisons its opponents,” he added. “And if this country believes in anything, we believe in human rights. We believe in democracy. I just don’t believe we should be maintaining a warm relationship with a dictatorship like that.”
Biden defended the trip in an opinion piece for the The Washington Post, saying that the visit would mark a “new and more promising chapter of America’s engagement” in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, a nation he previously said would “pay the price” for their killing of Khashoggi.
“I know that there are many who disagree with my decision to travel to Saudi Arabia,” Biden wrote in the op-ed. “My views on human rights are clear and long-standing, and fundamental freedoms are always on the agenda when I travel abroad, as they will be during this trip, just as they will be in Israel and the West Bank.”
In March 2021, the Biden administration released a report pinning the blame for Khashoggi’s murder on Mohammed bin Salman. The report concluded that the crown prince “approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey, to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: POLITICO
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