Gaetz: ‘What Happened in Pensacola Has to Inform’ Our Relationship with Saudi Arabia

By Melanie Arter | December 9, 2019 | 3:21pm EST
(Photo by SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

( - The shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola on Friday by a Saudi national “has to inform” the United States’ ongoing relationship with Saudi Arabia, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous” on Sunday.

“The military is not a feature of my community; it is the defining characteristic of my community, and I've dealt with killed-in-action down range, active-duty suicide. But there is a special kind of grief when the bravest, most patriotic Americans are putting themselves in harm's way to train people from other countries to be able to protect and defend their own country, and then they kill us for it,” the congressman said. 

“This isn't the first time my community has experienced that type of grief, and it is deeply, deeply painful. Of course, what happened in Pensacola has to inform on our ongoing relationship with Saudi Arabia. That is the message I directly delivered to the Saudi ambassador when she called to offer her condolences,” Gaetz said.

“There are Saudis that are currently with us that are being investigated, and I made the point as clearly as I possibly could that we want no interference from the kingdom as it relates to Saudis that we have, and if there are Saudis that we do not have that may have been involved in any way in the planning, inspiration, financing or execution of this, that we expect Saudi Intelligence to work with our government to find the people accountable and hold them responsible,” he said.

Gaetz said he was “given every assurance from the ambassador that that would occur.”

As previously reported, a Saudi national opened fire on a classroom at the Naval air station, killing three and injuring eight others. He was receiving aviation training at the facility.


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