Should the American president defend the dignity and human rights of his citizens, regardless of the circumstances?
For President Joe Biden, who happens to be touring oil-rich Saudi Arabia during an unprecedented world energy crisis, the answer appears to be an emphatic “no.”
The scene unfolded Friday during a high-level meeting between Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Instead of treating bin Salman, who is accused of playing a central role in the gruesome 2018 murder and dismemberment of Saudi-critical journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as a powerful world player who needs to be reeled in, Biden is apparently letting bygones be bygones.
The crown prince was treated to a familiar fist bump from Biden in a move that disgusted many. While the president is fist-bumping many others on his Middle East trip (supposedly in a sort of ritual to ward off COVID), the closeness of this encounter set off alarm bells for many.
Despite the criticism, Biden made a show of friendship with the alleged murderer. When asked about Khashoggi’s bloody killing and bin Salman’s apparent role in it, the president laughed it off as a “silly question.”
While Biden may be afraid to confront powerful foreign players, not all Americans are willing to stay silent. Unfortunately, one who dared to speak up was silenced as the president of the United States sat meekly by and did nothing.
The incident happened during a face-to-face meeting between high-ranking American and Saudi officials held in front of the media. Among the leaders at the table were Biden and bin Salman.
During the meeting, NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander shouted a question that obviously crossed the Saudi line.
“Jamal Khashoggi,” Alexander yelled to bin Salman, “will you apologize to his family, sir?”
According to Alexander, the royal just gave a slight smirk before a Saudi thug appeared and grabbed the reporter by the arm.
“Jamal Khashoggi, will you apologize to his family?” I shouted to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the end of the press pool spray.
MBS had a slight smirk, before a Saudi aide grabbed my arm tightly. pic.twitter.com/htrSAvu2f7
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) July 15, 2022
Video of the event shows the question ring out before chaos from the media pool drowns out everything else.
Although the honest question was clear as day, nothing indicated that Biden showed any interest in jumping to the defense of his fellow Americans. Watch the situation below and decide for yourself.
At the end of a meeting between President Biden and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, an NBC News reporter, Peter Alexander, shouted “Jamal Khashoggi, will you apologize to his family?” Prince Mohammed and Biden ignored the question. https://t.co/aJWzG21P9T pic.twitter.com/PDyfPSwN1n
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 15, 2022
While Biden may be afraid to confront those in power across the world, this cowardice has fortunately not completely overtaken the American people.
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