Former GOP congressman: Don't let Trump 'simplify US relationship with Saudi Arabia into guns and oil'
Former GOP congressman Charlie Dent/CNN screen shot

Former Pennsylvania Republican congressman Charlie Dent rejected President Donald Trump's framing of the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia in a Thursday appearance on CNN, saying we have more choices than what anchor John Berman described as simply "Saudi oil or condemn murder".

"It's absurd," Dent said, while acknowledging the "largely transactional" nature of U.S.-Saudi relations. "It's also strategic, and it's really not a relationship based on so much on shared values. That said, our values do matter."

Dent said the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashogg was "beyond the pale" and said the Saudis needed to "held to account for that." But he disagreed with Trump's "binary choice".

"Nobody is arguing for a schism or for a divorce from the Saudis," Dent said, adding that he expected Congress would sanction the country. "The president should not simplify this relationship to one of dollars and cents, of arms sales or oil."

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