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Trump must respond firmly to Khashoggi murder in consulate

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Saudi Arabian journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Turkey, and I believe President Donald Trump’s softness in responding to this situation is selfish and a disgrace.

One of the primary reasons Trump likely doesn’t want to pressure Saudi Arabia, which is certainly anything but a champion of human rights, is the arms deal he made with the Saudis in May 2018.

“I don’t want to lose all of that investment that’s being made in our country,” Trump said. “I don’t want to lose a million jobs.” 

America has traditionally had a positive relationship with Saudi Arabia, which has become one of America’s strongest allies in the Middle East. 

But Trump has taken defense of the Saudis to a new level.

The president told The Associated Press last week we shouldn’t rush to judgment on what happened and compared punishing Saudi Arabia to the sexual assault allegations made against Brett Kavanaugh. 

Trump initially accepted the denial of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s involvement in Khashoggi’s death, as his administration did with Kavanaugh’s denial of allegations.

Saudi Arabia initially denied that Khashoggi died, but Turkish officials have recordings to prove he was killed. 

Saudi Arabia ultimately owned up to the death after over two weeks of denial.

On Wednesday, Mohammed broke his three-week silence and said the murder of Khashoggi was “a heinous crime that cannot be justified.”

The sincerity of this statement is questionable because Turkish officials named members of the prince’s staff as being involved in Khashoggi’s murder.

So why is Trump being soft on the Saudis? 

Trump’s business ties to the country go back nearly three decades. 

Trump has made deals with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including selling the entire 45th floor of Trump World Tower in New York to the kingdom, according to CBS News. 

Since declaring his presidential campaign, Trump has shown admiration and warmth toward the Saudis because of their real estate deals with him. 

The relationship with Saudis doesn’t extend to just Trump. 

Prior to joining Trump’s White House,  Senior adviser Jared Kushner, a real-estate investor in New York, had a close relationship with Mohammed. 

Trump and his family’s ties to Saudi Arabia have clouded their judgment on Khashoggi’s death. 

The Saudi Arabian government punishes and kills critics like Khashoggi, and Trump shows a disdain for journalists never before seen from an American president. 

Combine that with Trump’s financial ties to the Saudis, and we get a president who is hesitant to criticize a foreign government that is clearly in the wrong. 

America should not accept such hesitation as an excuse for acting undiplomatically. 

Coming out strong against events like the ones that happened to Khashoggi should not be as difficult as Trump is making it.