Joe Biden Laughs Off Criticism of Fist Bump with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

biden saudi
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images; Saudi Press Agency via AP (inset)

President Joe Biden laughed off a question Friday about criticism of his fist-bump with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and called a question about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi ‘silly.’

Biden gave a short statement after his meeting with Saudi officials and took a couple of questions from reporters.

The president laughed out loud after a reporter told him that he was being criticized for his fist bump with Salman.

The reporter also asked how Biden could be sure that a murder like Saudi dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi’s would not happen again if he failed to make the Saudis pay for their crimes.

“Well, God love you. What a silly question!” Biden said. “How could I possibly be sure of any of that? I just made it clear if anything occurs like that again, they’d get that response and much more.”

Biden appeared frustrated by the level of criticism he was getting by meeting and fist-bumping the crown prince.

“I don’t know why you’re all so surprised the way I react,” he griped. “No one’s ever wondering I mean what I say, the question is that sometimes I say all that I mean.”

Biden insisted he brought up Khashoggi’s murder and criticized the Saudis for it at the top of the meeting.

“I was straightforward and direct when discussing it. I made my view crystal clear. I said very straightforwardly — for an American president to be silent on an issue of human rights is inconsistent with who we are and who I am,” Biden said.

The president said that the crown prince told him he was not responsible for Khashoggi’s murder and that he told the prince he disagreed.

Biden brushed aside Khashoggi’s fiancée for criticizing his meeting, saying “I’m sorry she feels that way,” when reporters asked him about her comments on social media.

The president defended his meetings in Saudi Arabia, noting he accomplished “significant business,” including discussions with the Saudis about increasing their production of oil and the development of clean energy projects.

“We had a good discussion on ensuring global energy security and adequate oil supplies to support global economic growth, and that will begin shortly,” Biden said, adding he expected future announcements from the Saudis on oil production within weeks.


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