Washington Post publisher and chief executive Fred Ryan on Wednesday condemned US President Donald Trump’s decision not to punish Saudi Arabia for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“A clear and dangerous message has been sent to tyrants around the world: Flash enough money in front of the president of the United States, and you can literally get away with murder,” Ryan wrote in an opinion piece for the newspaper.
In the article, Ryan described a statement by Trump in support of Saudi Arabia as “bizarre, inaccurate and rambling”.
In “Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Standing with Saudi Arabia,” which was released Tuesday by the White House, Trump said: “King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. 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!”
Trump maintained that the US needs Saudi Arabia because of its oil, its willingness to counter Iran and its ability to counter terrorism in the region.
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist working for The Washington Post, was killed shortly after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
Saudi Arabia offered shifting explanations for Khashoggi’s disappearance before suggesting he was killed during a botched rendition operation by rogue agents.
So far, 21 people, including security officers, have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder.
“President Trump whitewashed the Saudi government’s brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” Ryan wrote.
“Whatever objections people may have to our turning a blind eye to Khashoggi’s assassination, the president argued, they do not outweigh the (grossly inflated) revenue we can expect from US-Saudi arms deals,” he added.
The CIA recently released a report in which it concluded with high confidence that bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s murder.