President Donald Trump is making a cynical gamble by taking Saudi Arabia’s side in the apparent murder of a Washington Post columnist, according to an MSNBC contributor — and he compared the situation to a mafia hit.
Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief for The Atlantic, said the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi would never have happened on Barack Obama’s watch, but he said the Saudis and other Middle Eastern nations were emboldened by Trump to take brutal actions against political foes.
“I’m not sure this is going interpreted as weak and feckless in the Middle East,” Goldberg said. “It’s being interpreted as these are the rules, this is not a happy place, this is not a friendly place, it’s a brutal place and sometimes we go a little bit too far and we get into a little bit too much trouble, but the president of the United States, our historic ally, has our back. They are thanking God right now that they have Donald Trump and not Barack Obama in office.”
“Look, this is straight mafia,” he added. “I mean, you know, what’s going on here is straight mafia.”
Trump’s family business relies heavily on Saudi investment, and the Washington Post‘s Robert Costa said GOP lawmakers are worried about the killing’s affect on the election.
“It’s a complicated moment politically for the Republican Party,” Costa said. “Talking to my top sources last night, they said this is perhaps the real October surprise, not the (Brett) Kavanaugh confirmation, in that you have human rights and foreign policy being injected into the midterm campaign just weeks ahead of the election.”
“Most of these lawmakers are now back home in their districts trying to save their seat,” Costa added, “whether it’s in the Senate or the House, and they are really looking to the White House for cues about how to handle this, but there’s this indecision inside of the GOP because they are not here really in Washington about whether to move forward with sanctions, to take a harder line against Saudi Arabia or not, or to risk going against President Trump and his line.”