Donald Trump ‘Too Soft’ On Saudi Arabia, Most Americans Say In New Poll

Although Trump called Jamal Khashoggi's murder the 'worst cover-up in history' yesterday, he has been too guarded in his criticism of the Middle Eastern nation.

Donald Trump "too soft" on Saudi Arabia, most Americans say.
Ron Sachs / Getty Images

Although Trump called Jamal Khashoggi's murder the 'worst cover-up in history' yesterday, he has been too guarded in his criticism of the Middle Eastern nation.

A majority of Americans believe President Donald Trump has been “too soft” in his condemnation of Saudi Arabia in wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, according to a poll conducted by Axios.

Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian defector who was a columnist for the Washington Post, went missing earlier this month when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to collect some paperwork. Turkish news media reported that Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had been instrumental in the plans to murder him brutally, but Saudi officials deny the claims. The Middle Eastern nation has admitted to a “cover-up” by top officials, but it still maintains the crown prince didn’t know about the killing reportedly carried out by a rogue general and his cohort.

Even as international media racked up the pressure on Saudi Arabia for the inconsistencies in its narrative about the killing, Donald Trump initially expressed confidence on the Saudis, calling their response “credible.” He cited the mutually beneficial relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States in an effort to divert condemnation of the Middle Eastern nation.

Now a poll conducted by Axios shows that most Americans have not been pleased with the response shown by Trump, calling his stance “too soft” and not becoming of an American president. Fifty-six percent of Americans said Trump has not nearly been “tough enough” on Saudi Arabia, while only 32 percent approved of his response.

Trump has also reiterated that Saudi Arabia is a “strong ally” of the U.S., but most Americans do not believe that either. Only 10 percent of participants seemed to agree with Trump’s characterization, while nearly 12 percent of people even called the Middle Eastern nation an “enemy” of the U.S.

Thirty-seven percent of people said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is “unfriendly.”

But growing international pressure, coupled with clear inconsistencies in the Saudi narrative, has now led Trump to condemn Saudi Arabia, with the president yesterday calling Jamal Khashoggi’s murder the “worst cover-up” in history. For the first time since the killing, Trump admitted that nothing happened in Saudi Arabia without the approval of the prince, saying “the prince is running things over there” in Riyadh, according to The Guardian.

“Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage. He’s running things and so if anybody were going to be, it would be him,” Trump said.

“They had a very bad original concept. It was carried out poorly and the cover-up was one of the worst cover-ups in the history of cover-ups. Very simple. Bad deal, should have never been thought of. Somebody really messed up,” he added.