(CNS News) -- Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) questioned President Joe Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia today to try to combat high gasoline prices, saying it represents a “change in tone” towards the Muslim monarchy, and that “groveling to these dictators for an increase and begging for oil production is embarrassing.”
According to U.S. intelligence reports and other investigations, the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), approved a plan to kill Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The writer was murdered and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
At the U.S. Capitol, CNS News asked Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), “Do you think it's appropriate for President Biden to travel to Saudi Arabia and meet with Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince?”
Hawley said, “I mean, I guess it's up to him. I will say that it's certainly a change in tone from where he was earlier and what he said about the crown prince, and then go groveling to increase oil production is particularly embarrassing.”
“I mean, and for that matter, groveling to these dictators for an increase and begging for oil production is embarrassing,” said the senator.
Biden is expected to meet with Mohammed Bin Salman today, July 15, in a trip many suspect is crafted to secure more oil because domestic gasoline prices are very high.
When campaigning for office in 2020, Biden said, “I guarantee you, we’re going to end fossil fuels.” Once in office, Biden took action to reduce domestic oil production, including revoking the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which was expected to carry 830,000 barrels per day of Alberta oil sands crude to Nebraska, according to CNBC.
Biden claimed that oil is not the purpose of this week’s trip. “The commitments from the Saudis don’t relate to anything having to do with energy,” he said. “It happens to be a larger meeting taking place in Saudi Arabia. That’s the reason I’m going. And it has to do with national security for them — for Israelis.”
In March 2022, it was reported that the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates refused to take calls from Biden – calls that likely had to do with securing allies against Russia and ensuring continued access to oil. The crown princes denied these calls due to “unhappiness about Biden’s policies in the region,” reported the Times of Israel.
In a July 10 commentary, Biden wrote, “When I meet with Saudi leaders on Friday, my aim will be to strengthen a strategic partnership going forward that’s based on mutual interests and responsibilities, while also holding true to fundamental American values.”
The president also wrote, “My views on human rights are clear and long-standing, and fundamental freedoms are always on the agenda when I travel abroad.”
A response-commentary was published in The Post on July 11, saying, “A grip-and-grin photograph with MBS [Mohammed bin Salman] signals to autocrats everywhere that you can quite literally get away with murdering a journalist as long as you possess a natural resource the United States wants badly enough.”
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted, “Why would President Biden plead for more Saudi Arabian oil when we could be producing more domestic energy right here in America? Our country should be producing more oil by Americans, for Americans.”