Rachel Maddow explored Donald Trump’s puzzling response to Saudi Arabia’s murder of Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi. The MSNBC host settled on two possible reasons why the president of the United States appears to be siding with the Saudis.
Warning: Both of her conclusions are incredibly troubling.
According to Maddow, there is a very real possibility that Trump is beholden to or compromised by the Saudis, or he simply has no problem with a journalist and U.S. resident being murdered.
“It seems to me those are the feasible explanations thus far for the president’s behavior,” Maddow said. “I have yet to hear any even proposed alternate explanation for the president’s behavior.”
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) October 17, 2018
After the president made that public assertion that there is some U.S. investigation underway where Khashoggi disappeared, the FBI had to clarify to the press that actually, no, we’re not. We’re not looking into this. The FBI has not been invited to investigate this matter in Turkey. They have not been on the ground investigating this matter, despite the fact that the president is saying they were. But now it’s clear from the president’s behavior, I think, that one of two things is going on here. We are facing now either the prospect that the president can’t criticize Saudi Arabia and its leaders for some reason, he is somehow beholden to them for a reason he cannot or will not explain. He feels bound for some reason to literally let them get away with the murder of a U.S. resident, or there’s the alternate prospect here that there are no ulterior motives driving the president’s behavior, that there is nothing secret or compromising that we need to know about that’s operating behind the scenes here. Rather this is simply a manifestation of the fact that the president doesn’t think that murdering a journalist for The Washington Post is all that big a thing. Why would we care? I mean I shouldn’t say that these two prospects are mutually exclusive. I guess they could both be true. He could both be compromised by the Saudis in the sense he is not free to criticize them, no matter what they do, even when they start killing U.S.-based journalists, and alongside that, he could also not really feel like criticizing this kind of a murder because of who was murdered, and he doesn’t think this kind of a murder is that big a deal. They could both exist, right? But it seems to me those are the feasible explanations thus far for the president’s behavior. I have yet to hear any even proposed alternate explanation for the president’s behavior from anybody inside the White House or from the president himself.
Trump is once again siding with a brutal regime
Both of the conclusions Maddow reached on Tuesday were unsettling. Either this president is beholden to (another) foreign government, or he thinks it’s okay for journalists and U.S. residents to be murdered – or both.
And while Trump’s response to the brutal killing of Jamal Khashoggi has been troubling, it shouldn’t be all that surprising.
Throughout his presidency, Trump has repeatedly sympathized with brutal regimes or American adversaries, from Russia to North Korea, while further isolating our allies. The fact that he’s siding with Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi’s murder is just the latest in this disturbing pattern of behavior.
But no matter how common this behavior is from the president of the United States, it’s not normal. It shouldn’t be treated as such.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.