Trump Had ‘Friendly Meeting’ With Crown Prince Bin Salman, Saudi State Media Reports

President Donald Trump looks over at Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman al-Saud during the opening day of Argentina G20 Leaders' Summit 2018.
Daniel Jayo / Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had a “friendly meeting” on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina, Reuters reports, citing Saudi state media. According to the news agency, the state-owned Al Arabiya TV gave no further details. Photos snapped during the encounter show Trump looking over at bin Salman, with the Saudi prince smiling warmly at the president.

News of the friendly encounter comes after Donald Trump announced that he would be downgrading and canceling a slew of G20 meetings. As detailed by a previous Inquisitr report, although vowing that his G20 trip will be “very productive,” Trump decided to downgrade meetings with South Korea’s Moon Jae-in and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from formal “sit-downs” to informal “pull-asides.” Trump also pulled the plug on a meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, citing Russia’s failure to return Ukrainian ships and sailors it seized.

While Trump may not hold formal meetings with Mohammad bin Salman and Vladimir Putin, videos of the Saudi crown prince and the Russian president’s “exuberant” handshake, as CNBC put it, are going viral on social media. The two leaders, who were seated together at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, were filmed warmly shaking hands, laughing, and embracing. “Putin bro-fives MBS,” is how Twitter users started describing the viral video as soon as it surfaced.

While perhaps not nearly as enthusiastic as Putin’s, Donald Trump’s meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is guaranteed to raise a few eyebrows, given that the president’s decision to stick with bin Salman — in the wake of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal killing allegedly ordered by the prince and as the Yemen war continues to erupt — is being widely condemned.

Refusing to succumb to largely bipartisan pressure, President Trump rejected the U.S. intelligence community’s report that bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s murder, according to the Guardian.

“They didn’t conclude. No no, they didn’t conclude. I’m sorry. No they didn’t conclude. They did not come to a conclusion. They have feelings certain ways. I have the report … they have not concluded, I don’t know if anyone’s going to be able to conclude the crown prince did it,” Trump told reporters, adding that the prince’s father and the prince himself keep “vehemently” denying having anything to do with the brutal murder.

The Guardian notes that the Turkish government — Khashoggi was murdered in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate — has repeatedly asserted that the order to murder the journalist had to come from the “highest levels” of Saudi Arabia’s authoritarian government.