Trump Unwilling to Let Saudi Journalist’s Fate Risk Huge Arms Deal

Says Khashoggi 'not a US citizen'

A top priority for President Trump as with many recent presidents, is the selling of massive amounts of US arms internationally.That’s meant his promises to get to the bottom of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi have clear limitations.

In comments today, after insisting how determined he is to tackle this matter at the “highest levels,” Trump is walking back the issue, insisting that it isn’t worth it for the US to imperil $110 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia over a single journalist.

Trump says it wouldn’t be acceptable to lose the $110 billion deal, adding that the journalist’s disappearance took place in Turkey, and he’s not a United States citizen. He did suggest there are “other things” the US could do.

This is exactly why Trump weighing in on the issue at all was something of a surprise. The arms deal is simply too important to politically well-connected US arms companies, and any serious attempt to punish the Saudis for the likely killing of Khashoggi is going to boil down to a fight over the arms deal.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.