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Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake and Rand Paul Slam Donald Trump for His Solidarity With Mohammed bin Salman

Principle over politics.
trump khashoggi, trump saudi arabia

Win McNamee, Eric Baradat/AFP and Michael Reynolds/Getty Images

Though Republican officials usually fall in lockstep with President Donald Trump, there have been some occasions that even they couldn’t feasibly defend the President, like when he took up for Nazis marching in Charlottesville or when he publicly sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence officials.

Most recently, they now appear to be breaking from Trump’s opinion on the brutal murder of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi—a murder the Central Intelligence Agency concludes was performed under orders from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, whom Khashoggi reported on unfavorably.

Republican rebukes come in reaction to the President’s recent statement in which he doubts that Al Saud is to blame, cites Saudi Arabia’s allyship, and acknowledges that Saudi Arabia’s oil contributions played a factor in his decision.

The statement—laden with exclamation points—reads, in part:

“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!…After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels – so important for the world. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!”

Republican lawmakers disagreed.


Senator Paul added:

“I’m pretty sure this statement is Saudi Arabia First, not America First. I’m also pretty sure John Bolton wrote it.”

Even one of the President’s most steadfast allies in the senate—Lindsey Graham (R-SC) disparaged the statement—albeit not without blaming former President Barack Obama first.

So if even many of the most Right Wing Republican Senators are outraged over Trump’s statement on Khashoggi, why on earth would the President make it then?

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  • Evan Brechtel

    Evan is a writer and editor based in New York. In addition to his work with Second Nexus, he freelan... keep reading