Following a successful meeting between Donald Trump and his senior advisor, the Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described Trump as a “true friend of Muslims,” adding that he respects and supports Trump’s travel ban for people from seven terror prone Muslim majority countries.
The Prince’s senior advisor, who attended the White House on his behalf, said in a statement that the meeting was a “huge success” that marked a historic turning point in the bilateral relations [between the] two countries.”
On the subject of Trump’s proposed travel ban, which a federal judge in Hawaii blocked yesterday, the Prince argued that “the measure is a sovereign decision aimed at preventing terrorists from entering the United States of America.”
The statement added that Trump had expressed his “deep respect for the Religion of Islam”:
Prince Mohammed considers his Excellency [Trump] as a true friend of Muslims who will serve the Muslim World in an unimaginable manner, opposite to the negative portrait of his Excellency [Trump] that some have tried to promote whether through publishing unjust statements that are taken out of their context or by means of unrealistic media commentaries and analyses about his Excellency.
In addition to clarifying Trump’s attitudes towards Islam, the pair also discussed Saudi investment in America, with the Prince crediting Trump for improving America’s economic climate.
“Many of the economic files between the two countries have been discussed. They included huge Saudi investments in the United States of America in addition to exceptionally and largely providing American companies with the opportunities to enter the Saudi market. This would not have been achieved without President Trump’s efforts to improve the climate for investments inside the United States of America,” the statement read.
Trump and the Prince’s advisor also discussed the efficacy of border walls, with the Prince outlining the successfulness of building a wall on the Saudi-Iraqi border, adding his only regret was that he did construct a wall on the Yemenis border as well:
Both sides discussed the Saudi successful experience in building a fence on the Saudi-Iraqi border, which led to preventing illegal entrance of individuals, as well as preventing smuggling operations. Prince Mohammed expressed his regrets that Saudi Arabia did not apply this experience earlier on the Saudi-Yemeni border, noting that the success of the northern border experience will accelerate applying it on the Saudi southern border.
In the run-up to last year’s Presidential election, Trump repeatedly criticized Hillary Clinton’s close relations with Saudi Arabia, advising her to return the money her foundation received from Saudi donors.
“So Hillary thinks they are funding ISIS, but still takes their money. And you know their views on gays. And you know their views on women. I think she should give back the $25 to $35 million she’s taken from Saudi Arabia. And she should give it back fast,” he said at the time.
However, Trump equally supported retaining Saudi Arabia as an ally and even suggested the country should develop nuclear weapons to fend off any potential threat from Iran.