President Donald Trump declared Tuesday he would stand by Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2 and was never seen again. In an extraordinary written statement riddled with exclamation points and subtitled “America First,” Trump wrote, “It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t! That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” Trump’s statement came even after The Washington Post reported last Friday that the CIA has “high confidence” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. Trump was asked by reporters Tuesday why he was siding with Saudi Arabia over his own intelligence agencies.
President Donald Trump: “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. Right now we have low oil prices, or relatively—I’d like to see it go down even lower, lower. But I think that it’s a very simple equation for me. I’m about 'make America great again,' and I’m about 'America first.'”
Trump went on to falsely claim that Saudi Arabia was investing over $400 billion in the U.S. economy while funding hundreds of thousands of jobs. But a new report from the Center for International Policy found investment from Riyadh is responsible for less than 20,000 U.S. jobs a year and just a fraction of the investment cited by Trump.