Kushner still palling around with Saudis as kingdom tries to jack up gas prices: report
Jared Kushner (Photo: AFP)

On Wednesday, Newsweek reported that former President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who held a broad portfolio of foreign policy responsibilities in Trump's White House, is still rubbing shoulders with Saudi officials at their events.

"Kushner, who is married to the former president's daughter Ivanka Trump, took the stage at the international conference in Riyadh on Tuesday as relations between the U.S. and the Gulf kingdom continue to be strained," reported Ewan Palmer. "Prior to his talk, Kushner, who runs a private equity fund backed by Saudi Arabia, featured prominently as a front-row guest at the event." According to the report, former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is also scheduled to speak at the conference.

"The White House has not sent any officials to Saudi Arabia as the U.S. is currently reassessing its relationship with the kingdom amid ongoing tensions," said the report. "President Joe Biden has long been a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia for its human rights abuses, as well as the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 which U.S. intelligence agencies believe was authorized by the crown prince ... Biden, who called Saudi Arabia a 'pariah' during his 2020 election campaign, also warned that Saudi Arabia faces 'consequences' after the kingdom joined Russia in announcing it will cut oil production by as much as two million barrels a day, which could ultimately lead to higher gas prices in the U.S."

The Saudi cuts, which come at a time when the Kingdom has close ties to Vladimir Putin in spite of his genocidal invasion of Ukraine, have enraged U.S. officials, who are fighting to reduce gas prices amid a global destabilization of energy supplies.

IN OTHER NEWS: DOJ moving quickly in 'secret court proceedings' in Trump Jan. 6 probe

According to The Wall Street Journal, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has open animosity to the Biden administration, mocking the president's age in private and articulating he'd rather Trump be back in power.

Some Democratic lawmakers are calling on Biden to retaliate for Saudi's clampdown on global energy markets, possibly including withdrawing U.S. troops from the region, canceling arms sales, or removing the exemption for the Saudi-led Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in federal antitrust law.