Former Pennsylvania Republican Charlie Dent got smacked down after he told CNN on Monday that the US shouldn't be so "sanctimonious" about the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudis, because many of our other allies in the region have human rights issues.
Dent, responding to Republican Senator Marco Rubio's argument that the US can't take a strong stand against other nations that abuse human rights if we give the Saudis "a diplomatic slap on the wrist", essentially shrugged.
"We're formal allies with Turkey and President Erdogan," said Dent, noting that Turkey's record on human rights and a free press is abysmal. "We can get rather sanctimonious about this and say that every friendly nation needs to adopt our values. I wish they would but I think it's a little bit unrealistic."
"Nobody is trying to be particularly Pollyanna-ish about this," shot back anchor Alysin Camerota." Jamal Khashoggi was a journalist for the Washington Post, he was a resident of the United States. Does that make it any different?"
"I think it does, I guess," responded Dent, admitting that the crime was "atrocious" but nonetheless arguing that there was nothing to be done. That didn't sit well with fellow panelist Jane Harman, former ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security’s intelligence subcommittee.
"Congress appropriates money. We can cut off, limit, or in some way make funding for Saudi Arabia conditional on certain changes," Harman said. "MBS does not have to be the crown prince."
"Congress has options and, I think Congress, on a bipartisan basis, is extremely upset with what happened," Harman added. "Saudi Arabia has options. They could take a safer, better course and designate someone else in the royal family, at least for the next period, as the crown prince."
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