Trump Content to Overlook Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Abuses so Long as It Still Buys American

Trump Content to Overlook Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Abuses so Long as It Still Buys American

Want to get away with dismembering an American journalist? Make sure you’re buying American military equipment, and Donald Trump will not so much as say boo.

The president all but made that explicit during his interview with Chuck Todd on Sunday’s Meet the Press. Todd asked Trump why he has overruled Congress to allow arms sales to Saudi Arabia despite that nation’s terrible record on human rights. Todd particularly mentioned the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the American resident and Saudi native who wrote for The Washington Post before he was lured to Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Turkey and brutally murdered.

Trump responded:

“They buy massive amounts, $150 billion worth of military equipment that, by the way, we use. We use that military equipment. And unlike other countries that don’t have money and we have to subsidize everything. So Saudi Arabia is a big buyer of America product. That means something to me. It’s a big producer of jobs.”


America used to at least nod towards the idea of caring about human rights, even while still selling arms to nations such as Saudi Arabia. Trump doesn’t even pretend to care.

Todd mentioned that the United Nations wanted Trump to order the FBI to investigate Khashoggi’s death, to which Trump responded that it has been heavily investigated and anyway, what about Iran killing people, huh?

“Iran’s killed many, many people a day. Other countries in the Middle East, this is a hostile place. This is a vicious, hostile place. If you’re going to look at Saudi Arabia, look at Iran, look at other countries, I won’t mention names, and take a look at what’s happening. And then you go outside of the Middle East, and you take a look at what’s happening with countries. Okay? And I only say they spend $400 to $450 billion over a period of time –“

“Take their money. Take their money, Chuck,” Trump finished, as if he was a capo in The Sopranos.

In an unaired portion of the interview, Trump mentioned he had just spoken to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is believed to have personally ordered Khashoggi’s murder. Todd asked if Trump had mentioned the United Nations’ report on the death, which pinned the blame on MBS. Trump responded, “It really didn’t come up.” As if he had no power to raise it himself.

Watch the video up top, via NBC News.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.