President Biden accused Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister of lying when he contradicted the president’s claim that had raised the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and bristled when asked about the fist bump with the royal.
Returning early Sunday morning to the White House after his four-day trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, Biden was asked whether Adel al-Jubier was telling the truth when he said he didn’t hear the president bring up Khashoggi with the prince, commonly referred to as MBS.
“No,” Biden responded bluntly, according to a White House pool report.
The president, moments after arriving on Marine One, was also asked if he regretted the controversial fist bump with MBS.
“Why don’t you guys talk about something that matters? I’m happy to answer a question that matters,” he shot back.
Biden told reporters on Friday that he had questioned the crown prince about the 2018 murder of Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The US intelligence community has concluded that Salman ordered the operation to kill Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi royal family.
“With respect to the murder of Khashoggi,” Biden told reporters in the city of Jeddah. “I raised it at the top of the meeting, making clear what I thought of it at the time, and what I think of it now.”
But the president said MBS denied any personal responsibility for the killing.
“I indicated I thought he was. He said he was not personally responsible for it and he took action against those who were responsible,” the president added.
But the next day, al-Jubier told Fox News that he didn’t hear Biden confront MBS about Khashoggi.
“I didn’t hear that particular phrase,” al-Jubeir said.
“The president mentioned that the US is committed to human rights because since the founding fathers wrote the Constitution and he also made the point that American presidents — this is part of the agenda of every American president,” the Saudi minister told the outlet.