Friday on Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said if the government of Saudi Arabia is responsible for the disappearance and suspected death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia is destroyed.
Graham said, “With every passing day it’s more likely he is dead. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out what happened here. He goes into the consulate at 1:15 in the afternoon, gives his cell phone to his fiancee and never comes out. I have reason to believe that Saudi Arabia had targeted him in the past. He has been a dissident in the mildest form. If this is true that he was abducted and killed at the direction of the Saudi government, it will destroy the relationship as we know it.”
He continued, “I’ve been the biggest defender of Saudi Arabia. I’ve been a big champion of the relationship. I’ve been there many times usually with Senator McCain. The Crown Prince talked about reforming the country in a way that is pleasing and appropriate, but if he and others were involved in this, that would be an offense to me, to our values. It would be contempt for the U.S./Saudi relationship, and it would destroy it in my eyes. And I would do everything I could to punish the Saudi regime if they did, in fact, kill this man because of his dissident voice. That would be a complete disrespect of our relationship, and I would want to make sure others understood who we are as Americans.”
He added, “I feel used and abused, quite frankly personally. I’ve stood with the Saudis after the 9/11 actions here, I’ve tried to help the government. They’ve been a strategic ally. They help us with terrorism. They’ve been standing up to Iran. They’ve been better toward Israel. But it must be taking us for granted. To think that a guy like me and my colleagues would accept this and just go back to business, as usual, is completely misunderstanding who we are. Our foreign policy has a component of our values and our human rights values. We don’t believe in murdering people because they are dissident and you have to do business with unsavory characters in this business, but when you have an ally, you have to let them and the world know who you are. From my point of view everything is on the table, and if the Crown Prince was involved with this in any fashion, it would be impossible for him to be a legitimate leader on the international stage.”
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