President Donald Trump is stuck between a rock and a hard place as American foreign policy is running in conflict with his own finances.
In wake of the assassination of ex-Saudi Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, the president was criticized for placing his investments above America. Parsing words, he proclaimed he doesn't have any financial interests in Saudi Arabia, however, the truth is he gets a lot of money from the Saudis.
CNBC reported in October that Trump has bragged in the past he "make[s] a lot of money with them." He's also sold apartments and a yacht to Saudis for millions. While the president has seen dramatic decreases in traffic to his hotel properties, Saudi customers have helped make that loss up.
MSNBC's Morning Joe panel concluded that the Saudis expect they can get away with everything because the world needs their oil after the sanctions against Iran.
Richard Haas called it "charade" for the White House to think they could "hunker down" and it would eventually blow over.
"They're going to do the minimum amount possible. They just announced in the last 48 hours, they're going to send the general who used to head central command as the American ambassador to Saudi Arabia," Haas said. "His confirmation hearing will prove to be rather interesting. It's clear to me that the administration has decided they are better off with MBS [Mohammed bin Salman]. There's no real alternative. They, too, are part of the 'weather the storm strategy.' I don't like it in the least. I don't think it's a recipe for stability in Saudi Arabia or the region, but that's the administration's policy."
Frequent guest John Heilman called the entire issue "filthy."
"It's just, you know, everybody with eyes to see believes MBS was behind ordering the assassination of this journalist, right?" Heilman said. "And now the Saudi prosecutor also at the direction of MBS in order to cover up is now going to order the death penalty for a bunch of people who were ordered initially to commit the crime."
He noted the "moral atrocity" is "horrible enough" for the way they're handling it, but now five Saudis will be put to death for it, according to recent reports.
"And how weak does Donald Trump look that he isn't willing to confront in any way, shape or form this absolute atrocity?" asked former aide to George W. Bush Elise Jordan.
Watch the full discussion below: