U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that Saudi authorities staged the “worst cover-up ever” in the killing of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi this month.
Asked by a reporter in the White House Oval Office how the Khashoggi killing could have happened, Trump said: “They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly, and the cover-up was one of the worst in the history of cover-ups.”
Khashoggi’s death in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 has caused global outrage and strained relations between Riyadh and Washington. Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was a U.S. resident and columnist for The Washington Post.
Trump’s comments about the incident in recent days have ranged from threatening Saudi Arabia with “very severe” consequences and mentioning possible economic sanctions, to more conciliatory remarks highlighting the country’s role as a U.S. ally against Iran and Islamist militants, as well as a major purchaser of U.S. arms.