• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Biden Says He Brought Up Khashoggi Murder With Saudi Crown Prince

·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

In a last-minute press conference from Saudi Arabia, President Joe Biden said  he confronted Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman about the 2018 assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist whose death U.S. intelligence found was carried out at the behest of the de facto Saudi ruler.

Biden, who arrived for a controversial visit to the Saudi kingdom Friday, said he brought up Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who worked for The Washington Post, as soon as he sat down with the crown prince.

“I raised it at the top of the meeting, making it clear what I thought of it at the time and what I think of it now,” the president told reporters. “I was straightforward and direct in discussing it. I made my view crystal clear. I said very straightforwardly: For an American president to be silent on an issue of human rights is inconsistent with who we are and who I am. I’ll always stand up for our values.”

​​“He basically said that he was not personally responsible for it. I indicated I thought he was,” Biden said of his discussions about Khashoggi's death with the Crown Prince. (Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
​​“He basically said that he was not personally responsible for it. I indicated I thought he was,” Biden said of his discussions about Khashoggi's death with the Crown Prince. (Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

​​“He basically said that he was not personally responsible for it. I indicated I thought he was,” Biden said of his discussions about Khashoggi's death with the Crown Prince.  (Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Crown Prince Mohammed denied his involvement in the assassination, which Biden said he pushed back on.

​​“He basically said that he was not personally responsible for it. I indicated I thought he was,” the president said.

Biden has come under fire for reneging on his promise to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its human rights violations, with critics saying he’s made little progress on the Khashoggi murder in particular and maintained friendly relations with the autocratic regime. Friday’s visit was met with concern from some of Biden’s allies in Congress, too, who didn’t believe meeting with the crown prince would provide much value.

Biden grew visibly frustrated when a reporter asked how he could be sure that another murder like Khashoggi’s would not happen again.

Khashoggi's fiancee sharply criticized Biden for his seemingly friendly greeting with Bin Salman on Friday. (Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Khashoggi's fiancee sharply criticized Biden for his seemingly friendly greeting with Bin Salman on Friday. (Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Khashoggi's fiancee sharply criticized Biden for his seemingly friendly greeting with Bin Salman on Friday.  (Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“God love you. What a silly question. How can I possibly be sure of any of that?” Biden snapped back. 

A reporter also pressed Biden to respond to comments from Khashoggi’s fiancée Hatice Cengiz, who did not approve of Biden visiting the country and was especially outraged when photos emerged of the president and Bin Salman fist-bumping when they met Friday. “The blood of MBS’s next victim is on your hands,” she tweeted at the president. 

“I’m sorry she feels that way,” Biden said, saying that this trip was not just about meeting with the Crown Prince, but about meeting with the nine Middle Eastern nations who lead the world’s oil production, discussing security concerns and ensuring the U.S. does not “leave a vacuum” in that part of the world.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

Related...