Report: Donald Trump Once Accused Saudi Arabia For 9/11, Now Talks of Potentially Selling Weapons To Them
“We went after Iraq and they did not knock down the World Trade Center,” said President Donald Trump on Fox and Friends in 2016. “You might find it’s the Saudis.”
Then, he was a presidential candidate. Now, in office, Trump set to bypass Congress to complete the sale of munitions to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by using the Arms Export Control Act.
The deal, worth up to $8.1 billion in weapons, is heavily criticized by Democrats.
“President Trump circumventing Congress to sell more weapons to Saudi Arabia is unacceptable,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “The Saudi-led war in Yemen is not an emergency, it is a crime against humanity.”
The U.S. weapons are currently being used by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen fighting against the Houthi rebels.
A human rights organization conducted a study finding U.S. weapons in civilian areas that were targeted unlawfully by Saudi Arabia.
One of those findings included an attack last year when the Saudi-led coalition bombed a school bus in Yemen by airstrikes that killed over 40 children by a munition that was supplied by the U.S.
“[The] humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world,” according to the United Nations.
“The conflict in Yemen is a horrific humanitarian crisis that challenges the conscience of the entire world,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a tweet in April. “President has cynically chosen to contravene a bipartisan, bicameral vote of the Congress and perpetuate America’s shameful involvement in the heartbreaking crisis.”
This came after Trump vetoed a bipartisan bill to end support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen that passed by Congress.
“These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in May.
The U.S. arms sales to the Saudis has added tensions between Iran and the U.S. after Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal which has put instability in Iran’s economy.
“An emergency exists which requires the immediate sale,” said Pompeo. “In order to deter further the malign influence of the government of Iran throughout the Middle East region.”
WHAT THE RIGHT IS SAYING:
Sen. Lindsey Graham on Trump Administration and arms deal with Saudi Arabia. “I’ve got a real problem with going back to doing business as usual with Saudi Arabia,” said Graham on. “[Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was, in my opinion, involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and he’s done a lot of other disruptive things, so I don’t support the arms sales now.”
WHAT THE LEFT IS SAYING:
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a vocal critic on the arms deal.
“I am disappointed, but not surprised,” U.S. Sen. (D-N.J.) Bob Menendez said Tuesday, “that the Trump administration has failed once again to prioritize our long term national security interests or stand up for human rights, and instead is granting favors to authoritarian countries like Saudi Arabia.”