Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) tried to defend Trump’s cover-up of the Jamal Khashoggi murder only to end up contradicting and tying himself into knots on CNN.
The exchange on CNN’s New Day:
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Q: First things first. Let’s just take this one at a time. You think there needs to be strong condemnation. Have you heard that from President Trump?
Kennedy: I heard that initially. I think he’s backed off. I think he’s trying to get the facts.
Q: Why believe Saudi denials over the evidence?
Kennedy: Well, I think part of it is that a lot of the information we’re getting is coming from Turkish officials that are leaking it.
Q: Is that not to be trusted?
Kennedy: Well, it’s not secret that Turkey and the Saudis hate each other. There are — there are three centers of power in the Middle East: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran. And they’re all jockeying to get the upper hand. And if one of them succeeds, the Middle East is going to blow up.
Q: Fair enough. But aren’t you telling us this morning that you believe Turkish authorities and their intelligence over the Saudi denials?
Kennedy: I do so far. Yeah, based on the facts I’ve seen.
Q: Again, it is just puzzling when the president of the United States says things over and over like, well, they say they deny it. The president went so far as to say maybe this was a rogue again, just to present to people what we’ve had in terms of the evidence that a Turkish official tells it was there is a fresh paint of coat applied everywhere, that a Turkish official says Khashoggi’s body was cut into pieces after he was killed. They know that because of audio and video evidence. We may have been injected with a tranquilizer. They may have collected a large number of DNA samples from the consulate. What smoking gun do you think the president is waiting for?
Sen. Kennedy made no sense. He believes the evidence but doesn’t trust Turkey because they hate Saudi Arabia. On the one hand, Kennedy is attacking the credibility of the country providing the evidence, while saying that he believes the evidence the untrustworthy, according to him, nation has provided.
Kennedy’s explanation contradicts itself along the same lines as Republicans claim that they believe Christine Blasey Ford was sexually assaulted, but they don’t think Brett Kavanaugh did it.
It is the kind of illogical mumbo jumbo that becomes common when a political party abandons factual standards.
The problem for Sen. Kennedy is that he can’t just say he believes the facts, or he ends up on the opposite side of Trump.
Trump is waging a campaign to deny and discredit the evidence surrounding Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, and Sen. Kennedy’s answer demonstrated that Republicans are too cowardly to take a moral stand against their president.
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Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association