Congress reacts negatively to Trump’s statement on backing S Arabia

TEHRAN, Nov. 21 (MNA) – US President Donald Trump’s Tue. statement in support of Saudi Arabia in the face of Khashoggi’s murder has drawn strong criticism worldwide, even from top Senate Republicans.

In an official statement the White House released Tuesday, US President Trump signaled that he would not take strong action against Saudi Arabia or its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the death and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal 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!" wrote Trump.

The President went on to add, "we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi," and said, "in any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran."

The statement met with strong criticism from top Senate Republicans, such as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who tweeted Tuesday, "I never thought I'd see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia."

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also tweeted, "the President indicates that Saudi Arabia is the lesser two evils compared to Iran and so the US won't punish Saudi Arabia for the brutal killing and dismemberment of a dissident journalist in their consulate."

"We should, at the very least, NOT reward Saudi Arabia with our sophisticated armaments that they in turn use to bomb civilians," Paul continued, adding that he would "continue to press for legislation to stop the Saudi arms sales and the war in Yemen."

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham wrote in a tweet Tuesday that “it is not in our national security interests to look the other way when it comes to the brutal murder of Mr. Jamal #Khashoggi.”

Former 2012 Republican presidential nominee and now Utah Senator-elect Mitt Romney, also tweeted that "America can't excuse & minimize the brutal & gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident & columnist. Our country is defined by human values, by principle above convenience, & by commitment to morality."

"We must subject the perpetrators of this outrage to withering sanction," Romney added.

Meanwhile, the first Muslim women elected to Congress Ilhan Omar also criticized Trump’s stance on Saudi Arabia, writing in a tweet that “Once again, our President proves that you can’t buy a moral compass. And Saudi Arabia proves that you can, on the other hand, buy a President.”

Trump’s statement also met with criticism by Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, who wrote in a tweet that “Mr. Trump bizarrely devotes the FIRST paragraph of his shameful statement on Saudi atrocities to accuse IRAN of every sort of malfeasance he can think of. Perhaps we’re also responsible for the California fires, because we didn’t help rake the forests — just like the Finns do?" Zarif was making a dig at Trump’s suggestion that Finland did not have the same problem as California regarding wildfires because the Finns rake the underbrush that fuels the blaze. His remark was denied by Finnish president Sauli Niinistö, which then prompted many to mock Trump on social media.


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