Donald Trump this week took a harder stance on singer Taylor Swift than he did on the Saudi government accused of killing a Washington Post columnist, CNN host Jake Tapper said.
This week, journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Intelligence agencies indicate that Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident, was tortured and murdered by Saudi operatives at the behest of Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman, known as MBS. While the alleged killing has attracted a worldwide backlash, Donald Trump has been hesitant to criticize the Saudi government.
As Mediaite noted, that did not sit well with Jake Tapper.
“President Trump has been harsher about Taylor Swift this week than he has about MBS,” Tapper said on Friday.
Tapper also reported that the U.S. had intercepted communications from the Saudi Arabian government about plans to abduct Khashoggi, but did not warn him.
In his program on Friday, Tapper expressed outrage over Trump’s refusal to condemn the Saudi Arabian government, but attacked a pop star. Earlier in the week, Trump had spoken out against Taylor Swift after she broke her long-held political silence to endorse a Democrat running for senate in her home state of Tennessee.
“Let’s say that I like Taylor’s music about 25 percent less now, okay?” Trump said at a campaign rally on Tuesday, via The Hill.
By contrast, Trump did not speak out against Saudi Arabia, but said he was looking into what happened, noting that Khashoggi was not a U.S. citizen. But Trump made it clear that he did not want the alleged killing to stand in the way of a $110 billion arms deal planned with Saudi Arabia.
“I know they’re talking about different kinds of sanctions, but they’re spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs, like jobs and others, for this country,” Trump said, via CNN. “I don’t like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States. Because you know what they’re going to do? They’re going to take that money and spend it in Russia or China, or someplace else.”
But as CNN noted, only a small percentage of the deal has actually come to fruition. The Saudi Arabian government has, to date, followed through on $14.5 billion in purchases, and the report noted that Saudi Arabia had long promised to make massive arms purchases with the United States, which is believed to be an attempt to exert influence.
Turkey has 'shocking' audio and visual evidence of Saudi journalist's killinghttps://t.co/EQxWTYnACF
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 12, 2018
The report added that Donald Trump’s administration has staked its Middle East policy on forming a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia and Mohammad Bin Salman’s leadership, leading to questions over whether Trump would be willing to condemn the human rights abuses under the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.