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Washington Post publisher: Biden’s Saudi Arabia trip ‘erodes our moral authority’

The Washington Post’s publisher is criticizing President Biden for an upcoming trip to the Middle East, during which the president plans to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite previously calling the Saudi leader a “pariah.”

Post publisher Fred Ryan blasted Biden for agreeing to meet with the crown prince, whom Biden condemned on the campaign trail for his role ordering the murder of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in 2018.

“So why is President Biden now going to Jiddah on bended knee to shake the ‘pariah’s’ bloodstained hand? Once again, he is seeking votes,” Ryan wrote in the Post on Monday.

“The president has justified his trip as a necessary move to promote stability in the Middle East and to deter Russian and Chinese aggression. But the president should know meeting with Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, as he is known, will give the Saudi leader exactly what three years of Saudi PR campaigns, lobbying expenses, and even a new golf league have not: a return to respectability.”

Ryan argued that Biden’s meeting with the crown prince will signal to the world that America’s values on human rights are “negotiable” and that “the United States is willing to look the other way when its commercial interests are at stake.”

The trip comes as Biden faces increasing domestic pressure to ramp up oil production and importation amid high gas prices across the U.S.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest oil producers, and the Biden administration has repeatedly pushed the country to increase its supply after Western countries curbed imports from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

“We have learned, through decades of hard lessons, that terrorists recruit by exploiting hatred of the United States among people brutalized by their own despotic leaders,” wrote Ryan, a onetime aide to former President Reagan. “That narrative succeeds best when Americans talk a good game about human rights until there’s something else we need more — such as cheap oil.”

“About-faces such as the one Biden is making erode our moral authority and breed anti-American resentment,” he continued. “They communicate to democracy activists and reform-minded governments worldwide that Washington is an unreliable partner. And that sows confusion and sabotages our diplomacy — the opposite of what Biden says his trip is trying to achieve.”

Tags Fred Ryan Joe Biden

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