President Trump on Tuesday expressed that, despite Jamal Khashoggi's murder, the US stands by Saudi Arabia. It's a sentiment that's not going over entirely well, both within his own party and without. And it's one that got amplified Wednesday, by way of a tweet in which Trump publicly thanked the country for a drop in oil prices. It reads, "Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let's go lower!" The latest:
- Fox News reports Trump on Nov. 12 tweeted that "hopefully" Saudi Arabia wouldn't cut its production, and that the drop in prices is due to a bump in production by it, the US, and Russia. Oil prices are also not yet feeling the full impact of the sanctions Trump imposed on Iran one week prior to that, as several countries remain able to purchase oil from Iran for six months due to a waiver.
- The AP reports that after sharing his decision not to "foolishly" cancel arms contracts with Saudi Arabia, a reporter questioned whether human rights are too costly to fight for. "No, I'm not saying that at all," replied Trump, who then moved to discuss the "terrorist nation" of Iran.
- As he departed for a Thanksgiving holiday at Mar-a-Lago, he elaborated on the financial motivations of his decision, telling reporters on the South Lawn that oil prices would "skyrocket" if the US were to sever ties with the country, and that he wasn't about to "destroy" the global economy by being "foolish with Saudi Arabia."
- Sen. Rand Paul touched on the topic of Saudi Arabia vs. Iran, tweeting, "The President indicates that Saudi Arabia is the lesser two evils compared to Iran and so the US won't punish Saudi Arabia for the brutal killing and dismemberment of a dissident journalist in their consulate. I disagree."
- Sen. Bob Corker was another Republican expressing displeasure. The chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee tweeted, "I never thought I'd see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia."
- Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the move in a critical series of tweets, reports CNN, writing, "One thing I learned during the Obama years is that when you look the other way regarding problems in the Middle East, it seldom works out. ... It is not in our national security interests to look the other way when it comes to the brutal murder of Mr. Jamal #Khashoggi."
- Politico reports that the Magnitsky Act can be used to compel Trump to come to a conclusion about human rights violations by global leaders if the Senate Foreign Relations Committee asks the president to do so. The committee updated its Oct. 10 request, which didn't ask for Trump's determination on whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind Khashoggi's murder, to specify that he make that determination. Trump has 120 days to comply.
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