Speaking Tuesday on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi earlier this month, President Trump said the Saudis had engaged in “the worst cover-up ever.” He said the killing was a “very bad original concept” and a “total fiasco from day one.”
This is a continuation of Trump’s major shifts on the Khashoggi affair, as he has been forced to back away from the idea that “rogue killers” were behind the incident, as opposed to the Saudi Arabian government.
For several days now, Saudi officials have offered an array of different narratives on what actually happened, none of them consistent with the others, and none of them likely to be the final story. President Trump had made clear he didn’t want to punish the Saudis, but that was contingent on top royal family members, like the crown prince, not being directly involved. That the most recent reports suggest the crown prince was indeed directly involved, Trump is in a difficult position.
So now, the focus has shifted to faulting the Saudis on a very sloppy cover-up of the murder – so bad he can’t credibly claim to be satisfied. He’s also faulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying he’s “pretty rough” on the Saudis for killing someone in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
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