Donald Trump offered a very public “thank you” to Saudi Arabia for low oil prices just one day after refusing to condemn the kingdom for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
On Tuesday, Trump seemed to go against the assessment of the CIA in declaring that he was unsure of whether Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the killing of the Washington Post journalist. Trump released a statement refusing to condemn the country — and to risk losing Saudi investments — and said it was ultimately undetermined whether the crown prince personally ordered Khashoggi to be killed.
Trump doubled down via Twitter in his support of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, tweeting a congratulation about low oil prices that personally thanked the kingdom.
“Oil prices getting lower. Great!” he tweeted. “Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!”
As the Independent noted, there is plenty of doubt as to whether Saudi Arabia did anything to lower worldwide oil prices.
“Mr Trump’s statement strains credibility. Most oil analysts credit Russia for pressuring Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing nations to keep output up for keeping oil prices down.”
The report added that Donald Trump seems to be hoping that a focus on oil prices will take attention away from his denials about Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. Despite a report from the New York Times that the CIA found his murder came at the direct order of Crown Prince Mohammad, Trump seemed to refuse to accept this assessment in a statement released Tuesday.
“It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event,” Trump said in a statement (via the Associated Press). “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
Many had been calling on Donald Trump to come down hard on Saudi Arabia, despite signs that Trump would not. Just after it was revealed that Khashoggi had been murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Trump said he did not want to risk a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Trump had also praised Saudi Arabia for its investments in his own companies, saying they would pay upward of $40 million or $50 million to buy condos from his company.
But experts have also said that Donald Trump is overvaluing the investments Saudi Arabia has made, noting that the arms deal is well below the $100 billion mark that Trump has repeatedly claimed.