Amid the hype of the traditional Turkey pardoning that comes from the President of the United States each year, it seems that Donald Trump has elected to issue a far more consequential pardon in his official capacity as “leader of the free world,” and it is unfortunately uglier and more selfish even than his pardons of convicted felons Joe Arpaio and Dinesh D’Souza.
What’s more, Trump is bargaining away the very last of America’s moral authority in the world, likely for good.
It’s no secret that Trump and his family have long had dealings with the royal family of Saudi Arabia, and that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has worked closely with — been close personal friends with — Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is now known to have ordered the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The official statement issued by the White House this morning that attempted to explain away Trump’s dismissal of the findings from his own CIA while accepting the Prince’s denials as truth was widely mocked and met with an actual measure of horror by Americans, but military leaders, and by diplomats past and present.
Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an ‘enemy of the state’ and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
Again, this is from the official White House statement today — and it includes not only the President parroting Saudi lines about Khashoggi being in the Muslim Brotherhood (he is not, and no evidence possessed by anyone says otherwise), but also lying about the conclusions of American intelligence, who have already determined that the Prince knew and was involved.
But Trump took it a groveling step further.
After trying to justify away his decision not to punish Saudi Arabia for this horrific crime, Trump was questioned on the White House lawn by reporters, whom he finally admitted the truth to, while still denying that his words meant what they meant:
It’s a shame, but it is what it is.”
Saudi Arabia, if we broke with them, I think your oil prices would go through the roof, I’ve kept them down. They’ve helped me keep them down.”
He told reporters — falsely — that there are “hundreds of billions of dollars in orders” from the oil-rich nation, and that he was siding with them because, he said, “For me, it’s America first.”
Just not journalists living in America, working for an American newspaper.
Watch the disgusting spectacle here:
Featured image via screen capture