During the G20 summit, US President Donald Trump reportedly told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that he has “done really a spectacular job.”
In addition, Trump praised the crown prince for “opening up Saudi Arabia,” including for women.
“It’s like a revolution in a very positive way,” Trump said, also calling the Crown Prince a “friend” of his who had worked to enact social and economic reforms in the country, according to reporters at the summit. In addition, Trump said that he appreciates Saudi Arabia’s purchases of US military equipment.
“You’ve done really a spectacular job,” Trump told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Asked whether he would raise the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Trump said: "Thank you very much.”
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) June 28, 2019
Trump and MBS are meeting on a high floor of the Imperial Hotel in Osaka right now. Trump calls the Saudi crown prince “a friend of mine” and says it’s an “honor” to be with him. pic.twitter.com/4EMhkS4Mqj
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) June 28, 2019
“It’s an honor to be with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, a friend of mine – a man who has really done things in the last five years in terms of opening up Saudi Arabia,” Trump said before the meeting with the crown prince in Osaka, Japan.
Trump also reportedly ignored “shouted questions” from the press pool about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist who had criticized the kingdom’s leadership.
Trump reportedly said, “Uh … thank you very much,” when asked by one reporter at the G20 meeting whether Trump would discuss the murder of Khashoggi with the crown prince.
Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, in October 2018. Riyadh initially denied any involvement in the murder, but later admitted that Khashoggi had indeed been killed inside the embassy, charging 11 people for the crime.
Earlier this month, the UN Human Rights Council released a report by Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, which found that the journalist’s death was a premeditated, extrajudicial murder for which Saudi Arabia is responsible. The report demanded that those responsible be identified and held to account for their role in the killing of Khashoggi. Riyadh responded by saying the report contained “obvious contradictions and baseless allegations,” Sputnik reported. The CIA also determined that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s killing. However, Saudi officials have similarly gainsaid that assessment.