Trump 'Angry' on Khashoggi, but Crown Prince a 'Friend of Mine'

President says Mohammed bin Salman is doing a 'spectacular job'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2019 8:30 AM CDT
Trump on Saudi Crown Prince: He's Doing a 'Spectacular Job'
President Trump, left, speaks with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a photo session at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, on Friday.   (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool Photo via AP)

While most world leaders gave Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman the side-eye at the G20 summit held in Osaka, Japan, the crown prince had at least one attendee in his corner: US President Trump. The Wall Street Journal reports Trump's "rare endorsement" of bin Salman came during a Saturday breakfast in which the president called the crown prince "a friend of mine" and noted it was a "great honor" to be in his company, per the Washington Post. Trump noted that bin Salman has been doing a "spectacular job" in pushing for women's rights—the Journal notes that was a reference to women now being allowed to drive—and added that Saudi Arabia is "a good purchaser of American products" and deserves kudos for cutting off funding to terror groups.

NBC News tweeted a video showing Trump ignoring a question at the G20 breakfast about Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalist widely believed to have been murdered with the crown prince's involvement, but at a later news conference, when asked again about Khashoggi's assassination, Trump addressed it. "I think it's horrible," Trump said. "I'm extremely angry and unhappy about a thing like that taking place." He added, however, that he'd mentioned Khashoggi's murder to the crown prince "very strongly," and that bin Salman had told him he, too, was "very angry" about it, per CNN. Trump said that "nobody so far has pointed directly a finger" at bin Salman. When asked to comment on the CIA's assessment that bin Salman had ordered the killing, Trump said, per the Journal, that "he didn't want to talk about intelligence." (More Crown Prince Salman stories.)

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