As more and more speculation crosses the airwaves about what and when Donald Trump knew about the murder of Washington Post journalist and American resident Jamal Khashoggi, all eyes are back on the President’s history with the Saudis, as well as the relationship his son-in-law Jared Kushner enjoys with the royal family.
The secretive kingdom can sometimes be hard for Americans to understand, as their customs and traditions are so antithetical — in theory — to Western culture’s better traits. But we do understand the three things that the US and Saudi Arabia have as common interests: Money, power, and oil.
It makes sense that a family like the Trumps — who see themselves as a sort of royal family for the United States, with Ivanka even demanding a “princess moment” at her father’s inauguration and rumors that White House aides have taken to actually calling her Princess Royal — would pay special attention to how to deal with the royal family that rules Saudi Arabia, given those shared bonds over wealth, resources, and the ruling class.
But according to reports as far back as April, it was Ivanka’s husband Jared who was acting more like royalty, getting cozy with the crown prince of the desert kingdom, Mohammed bin Salman. If the prince was accurate in his bragging, Jared at one point handed him a list of enemies that he then used to crack down on political opponents, potential usurpers, and the richest men he could extort in order to replenish the kingdom’s diminishing wealth.
Who was on that list?
— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) November 5, 2017
Obviously, that’s not a full list, since there are not more than 30 names on it. But at the top of that list is a man that Trump likely had reason to hold a grudge toward: Prince al-Waleed bin Talal. Years ago, Waleed forced Trump to take a payment much smaller than what he’d hoped for in the sale of a pricey item he needed to offload when his casinos were in trouble. The prince paid Trump less than $20 million for a boat that Trump purchased for nearly $30 million back in 1989.
Having trouble thinking Trump could hold a grudge that long?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2015
And after King Salman and his son Mohammed executed their crackdown?
I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2017
And just for the sake of bringing things full circle, the boat that Waleed bought from him was the same yacht that Trump bought from Adnan Khashoggi, the notorious Saudi arms dealer and uncle to slain WaPo journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
So was Jamal on the list that Jared provided to the crown prince? We’ll never know. And if Donald Trump has his way, we’ll never even find his body.
Featured image via screen capture