Conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot blasted President Donald Trump for essentially becoming a “press secretary” for the Saudi Arabian government in wake of the Pensacola, Florida mass shooting.
In his column Sunday, Boot noted that the typical mass shooting sentiments like “thoughts and prayers” were absent Friday when Trump discovered that the shooting was done by a Muslim.
“It turns out that Trump actually has a triple standard, because he treats attacks by Saudis differently than those from other Muslim nations,” Boot observed. “On Friday, a Saudi air force officer studying at the Naval Air Station Pensacola shot dead three Americans and wounded eight others. Instead of expressing outrage or vowing vengeance, or even waiting for all the facts to come in, Trump sounded as if he were auditioning for the job of press secretary at the Saudi Embassy.”
When speaking to the press, he delivered “sincere condolences” from King Salman. He also gave a “highly questionable” promise that the person didn’t represent the “feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people.”
As Boot noted, the U.S. has a complicated history with the Saudis, after 15 of the 19 hijackers who attacked the Twin Towers on Sept. 11 were Saudi citizens. Then there’s the matter of the brutal torture, murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Sorry, but Americans don’t need blood money from the Saudis,” wrote Boot. “What they need are honest answers to figure out what happened and why.”
He noted that not only did the shooter screen videos of mass shootings with other Saudi students but the fact that he posted anti-Israel attacks about America’s “invasion,” he also had Saudi students film the attack. Boot explained that it would be enough for any right-wing Republican to proclaim “terrorism,” yet Trump is staying away from saying the word.
It certainly isn’t the first time Trump is taking the side of the Saudis. Boot recalled Trump’s decision to back the Saudis against American ally Qatar during a Saudi blockade. He also recalled Trump’s decision to back the Saudis during the disastrous humanitarian crisis after bombing Yemen.
“Why is Trump so sickeningly solicitous of a vicious dictatorship whose citizens have carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Americans, from Sept. 11, 2001, to Friday in Pensacola?” Boot asked. He speculated about the financial promise Trump’s relationship with the Saudis could have for the president’s own business prospects. Trump also seems to think that the U.S. needs the Saudi’s oil, despite becoming energy-independent. Trump has also lied about the weapons the Saudis have agreed to purchase from the U.S., saying it was $110 billion when it’s closer to $14.5 billion.
“If we’ve learned anything from Trump’s attempted extortion of Ukraine, it’s that all politics and policy is personal for him. His policy is ‘Me First,’ not ‘America First,'” Boot closed. “Trump’s suspicious relationship with Saudi Arabia is merely another example of what happens when a president decides to run the U.S. government as if it were a family-owned business whose only objective is to benefit his bottom line.”