(CNS News) - As President Joe Biden travels to Saudi Arabia this week to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) expressed disdain for the president’s actions when asked whether the trip was appropriate.
A U.S. intelligence report found Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) approved a plan to “capture or kill” a Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, in 2018. Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
At the Capitol on July 13, CNS News asked Senator Hagerty, “Is it appropriate for President Biden to be traveling to Saudi Arabia and meeting with MBS, Mohammed bin Salman?”
Senator Hagerty said, “President Biden is the leader of our country, he can meet with the leader of any nation he chooses, if he feels it’s in our strategic interest to do so.”
“I hope what he does while he’s there is acknowledge the great potential of the Abraham Accords,” added Hagerty. “And, you know, takes the opportunity to press forward on deepening economic ties in the region because economic security and national security are closely related.”
“Uh, I’ve heard what sounds like good -- I’ve heard promising reports that that may be the case,” he said. “If it’s true, I’ll applaud that,” the Senator concluded.
According to the Abraham Accords, the goal of the agreement between Israel and neighboring nations is to “pursue a vision of peace, security, and prosperity in the Middle East and around the world.” The Abraham Accords, initiated by President Donald Trump, were signed on Aug. 13, 2020, among Israel, the UAE, and the U.S.
President Biden defended his decision to meet with the Saudi Prince in a commentary published in the Washington Post. According to Biden, his trip to the oil-abundant country “will advance important American interests.”
Saudi Arabia’s “energy resources are vital for mitigating the impact on global supplies of Russia’s war in Ukraine,” said Biden.
“The Middle East I’ll be visiting is more stable and secure than the one my administration inherited 18 months ago,” the president assured Americans.
Critics of Biden’s decision to travel to Saudi Arabia to meet with MBS accuse Biden of sacrificing America’s moral values to resolve its current energy crisis.
In a separate commentary by Post CEO Fred Ryan, entitled “Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia erodes our moral authority,” the executive calls out the president’s inability to fulfill his campaign promise of increased pressure on the Saudi Crown:
“When seeking votes, Biden vowed to make Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a ‘pariah’ for his role in murdering Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the world had every reason to think he meant it.”
Some critics predict that Biden’s trip will only serve to benefit MBS. Carolyn Kissane wrote in Barron’s that “the trip is unlikely to produce much in the way of extra oil.” Kissane describes Biden’s trip as being a “victory lap” for Mohammed bin Salman, as a public meet and greet between him and the president of the United States would “solidify MBS, as the crown prince is known, as the true leader of Saudi Arabia, now and in the future.”