JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden said on Friday he mentioned the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the top of his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier in the day, making it clear the U.S. will not tolerate human rights abuse.
In a late night press conference, Biden said he raised the issue quickly, calling the killing “outrageous.”
“With the respect to the murder of Khashoggi, I raised it at the top of the meeting, making it clear what I thought of it at the time, and what I think of it now,” Biden said. “I made my view crystal clear. I said very straightforwardly, for an American president. To be silent on the issue of human rights is inconsistent or inconsistent with who we are and who I am.”
Biden said bin Salman responded by saying he was not personally responsible for the murder and he took action was taken against those who were responsible. The President responded by telling the Saudi leader he disagrees with him based on U.S. intelligence.
“He basically said that he was not personally responsible [for Khashoggi’s death],” the President said. “I indicated that I thought he was.”
The President met with the crown prince after arriving in Saudi Arabia earlier Friday. His controversial meeting came after he had previously insisted that it would not happen. The crown prince greeted Biden upon his arrival at the royal palace, where the two men gave a fist bump that sparked backlash back in the United States.
Prior to meeting with bin Salman, Biden met with the prince’s father, King Salman, who shook hands with the President as they posed for the cameras before going behind closed doors for the meeting.
What Jamal Khashoggi would tweet today: pic.twitter.com/Gv4Up7TLgd
— Hatice Cengiz / خديجة (@mercan_resifi) July 15, 2022
Hatice Cengiz, Khashoggi’s fiancee, tweeted a photo of the fist bump while criticizing Biden: “What Jamal Khashoggi would tweet today, ‘Is this the accountability you promised for my murder? The blood of MBS’s next victims is on your hands.'”
Biden was given the chance to respond during his remarks late Friday evening.
“I’m sorry she feels that way,” he said of Cengiz’s tweet. ” I was straightforward back then. I was straightforward today.”