U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday amid growing evidence that the Saudis orchestrated the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Pompeo traveled to Riyadh at the behest of President Donald Trump to get answers on Khashoggi’s death as Trump tries to salvage a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis.
The United States and Saudi Arabia are “strong and old allies. We face our challenges together — the past, the day of tomorrow,” MBS told reporters after meeting with Pompeo.
Sec. of State Mike Pompeo greets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman before their meeting pic.twitter.com/EU0ueNr9ZD
— Axios (@axios) October 16, 2018
But the smiley, jovial images coming out of the meeting are sending a message that one man’s life is less valuable than the sale of weapons to a country known for its funding of terrorist activity.
Republican strategist and vocal Trump critic Ana Navarro tweeted that the Saudis “just chopped-up a journalist who was a US Permanent Resident. He lived in the US. He worked at a US company. What in the hell is there to smile about? Disgusting.”
Hey, @SecPompeo, these people just chopped-up a journalist who was a US Permanent Resident. He lived in the US. He worked at a US company. What in the hell is there to smile about?
— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) October 16, 2018
Activist Leah McElrath had a much harsher take on the photo-op.
“Pompeo met with MBS in Saudi Arabia today. This photo op was a choice,” she tweeted. “A choice that sends a signal to the world: ‘Assassinate perceived dissidents with impunity. This administration will smile by your side.'”
Pompeo met with MBS in Saudi Arabia today.
This photo op was a choice.
A choice that sends a signal to the world:
“Assassinate perceived dissidents with impunity. This administration will smile by your side.” pic.twitter.com/sE8313t4MO
— Vote November 6th (@leahmcelrath) October 16, 2018
Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, a colleague of Khashoggi, said that the “suckuppery” to Saudi Arabia was “nauseating.”
the suck-uppery is stomach turning
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) October 16, 2018
Trump has boasted that the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia would create hundreds of thousands of American jobs and that it’s better for the world if the Saudis purchase American-made weapons of war, rather than those of China or Russia.
Trump has vowed “severe punishment” if the Saudis were directly responsible for Khashoggi’s death but has reaffirmed his commitment to the weapons sale
This is fueling a firestorm of dissent on social media.
so is this how we are great … being beholden to a human rights-free absolute monarchy because money
— Julie M does not need you to explain it to her (@exurbanmermaid) October 16, 2018
Is that like a congratulatory handshake or what????
— TX Vote starting Oct 22 (@cjkeller) October 16, 2018
Oh look a corrupt Republican in his natural habitat
— JLD (@jldoggett1) October 16, 2018
So giddy and chummy. Surprised they didn't have a "bro" secret handshake worked out between them. Meeting a MURDERER who is ONLY admitting to TORTURING Jamal Khashoggi to DEATH by mistake – all smiles and pats on the back. Quite the message to send to the world.
— Donkey_OT (@Donkey_OT) October 16, 2018
What's Pompeo smiling about?
— CathyO (@cathyob1) October 16, 2018
"I'm very sorry for this disturbance your highness…"
— Adam (@Rastafenian1) October 16, 2018
Scandalous, this administration not condemning the actions of the Saudis.
— Liz (@mommavandam) October 16, 2018
Shaking the hands of a murderer while smiling .
— Janet Hussey (@HusseyJanet) October 16, 2018
What a horror to shake that murderer's hand while the world watches the USA lose it's stature in the world. We have sided with a maniac who had a journalist hacked up with a bone saw. Why are you making light of this meeting, Axios?
— Santa Cruz Resists (@SantaCruzMag) October 16, 2018
Same disgusting smile as when they were locking up children in cages, voting in a sexual assault judge, banning Muslims, cheating in elections, mocking war heroes, etc etc. This is the Republican Party. Same as the old, but not hiding their hate anymore, actually enjoying it.
— Heather Garrison (@Heather3436) October 16, 2018
Business as usual is not sitting well with the viewing public.