print-icon
print-icon

WaPo Condemns Biden For "Shameful" MBS Fist-Bump; "Worse Than A Handshake"

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Friday, Jul 15, 2022 - 07:29 PM

Update (1600ET): President Biden on Friday that Saudi Crown Prince MBS said he wasn't responsible for the 2018 murder of WaPo columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

"He basically said that he was not personally responsible for it. I indicated I thought he was," said Biden.

"What happened to Khashoggi was outrageous," he added.

Biden previously dodged press questions over whether he would bring up Khashoggi - instead painting a broad brush stroke of concern over Saudi Arabia's "human rights" issues.

Last year the Biden administration released an intelligence report which concluded that MBS ordered the operation that led to the murder of Khashoggi - however the prince was not added to the list of people sanctioned for the crime.

Watch:

*  *  *

Update (1528ET): The Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi's former employer, has slammed President Biden for his "shameful" fist-bump with Mohammed bin Salman, writing in a statement that it "projected a level of intimacy and comfort that delivers to MBS the unwarranted redemption he has been desperately seeking."

*  *  *

Update (12:43ET)More video of Biden's brief interaction thus far with crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

And as expected, so far both are completely ignoring reporter questions as they shout out Khashoggi's name...

Meanwhile, the real question on the agenda remains...

* * *

President Joe Biden has arrived on Air Force One in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Friday. After being greeted by local officials, he quickly entered a car and his motorcade took him to meet King Salman. The meeting with the king is expected to be brief, with CNN speculating a likely mere 30 minutes or less, given that 86-year old Salman has long been in declining health. 

But all eyes are on the much anticipated meeting with the actual, de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, expected to take place later. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi looms heavily over the whole visit, as well as the question of oil production and other hot button issues, which is why neither MbS nor President Biden are expected to address media questions at all.

As The New York Post underscored this week, Biden will be carefully shielded from any potentially awkward inquiries from reporters:

President Biden won’t hold a press conference when he travels to Saudi Arabia and meets with killer Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the White House said Wednesday — days after Biden insisted in an op-ed that “fundamental freedoms are always on the agenda when I travel abroad."

"We don’t have a press conference for Saudi [Arabia]," press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One en route to Israel for the first leg of Biden’s trip.

She still tried to say, "what we are trying to do is trying to make sure that you guys hear from the president in Saudi [Arabia], on the bilats [bilateral meetings], on the trip, and make sure that you guys hear directly from him." Though it's unclear what this means or if it will result in any interaction with reporters whatsoever. 

In going from Tel Aviv to Jeddah, Biden became the first American president in history to fly directly from Israel to Saudi Arabia.

Last night, the Saudis announced that for the first time it would open airspace for all such flights - which suggests the kingdom could be poised to join the Abraham Accords and establish diplomatic relations with the Jewish state for the first time.

Entering the meeting place where King Salman is hosting, a smiling Joe Biden briefly greeted crown prince bin Salman with a fist-bump.

Watch:

It wasn't long ago that Biden was publicly calling MbS a "pariah". And some former Saudi intelligence officials backed this view, and more:

A former Saudi intelligence chief called Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a "psychopath" who is a threat to the whole world in a CBS News interview aired five days before President Joe Biden is due to visit the kingdom.

"A psychopath with no empathy, doesn't feel emotion, never learned from his experience. And we have witnessed atrocities and crimes committed by this killer."

Biden's MbS fist-bump is coming off some prior warm handshakes and fist bumps with Israeli leaders during the first half of his Mideast trip...

0