President Joe Biden claims that during a recent trip to Saudi Arabia he confronted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MSB) over the 2018 murder of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi.
Yet as the Daily Wire reported in an article published on Sunday, Saudi officials say that isn’t how the conversation went.
Biden promised to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah”
According to the website, Biden told reporters in a press conference on Friday that he was “direct” when discussing Khashoggi’s murder, saying, “I made my view crystal clear.”
He said: “I said very straightforwardly: For an American President to be silent on an issue of human rights, is this consistent with — inconsistent with who we are and who I am? I’ll always stand up for our values.”
Fox News noted that Democrats were sharply critical of former President Donald Trump’s overtures towards Saudi Arabia despite Khashoggi’s killing, with Biden saying during a 2019 primary debate that he would make the country a “pariah.”
However, Saudi officials have either refused to corroborate Biden’s version of events or actively contradicted it. Adel Al-Jubeir is a Saudi diplomat, and he reportedly told PBS correspondent Nick Schifrin that he didn’t hear the conversation in question.
I asked @AdelAljubeir, who was in the meeting with MBS, whether @POTUS‘ characterization of how he accused MBS of being responsible for Khashoggi’s murder was accurate. @AdelAljubeir told me, “I didn’t hear that exchange, that particular exchange…
— Nick Schifrin (@nickschifrin) July 15, 2022
Prince Faisal bin Farhan serves as Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister and he went farther, telling CNN that it was actually MBS who pushed back against the American president.
Biden grows frustrated with press questions
“The Crown Prince pointed out that the US has made its own mistakes and has taken the necessary action to hold those responsible accountable and address these mistakes just as the kingdom has,” he said.
Footage tweeted out by New York Post reporter Steven Nelson showed that Biden was quick to deny the Saudi version of events upon returning to the White House.
The president also expressed frustration with reporters over the questions about his having shared a fist bump with MBS.
“Why don’t you guys talk about something that matters?” Biden demanded. “I’m happy to answer a question that matters.”