President Donald Trump appears to be the sole voice on the global stage defending Saudi Arabia in the suspected killing of a Middle East journalist, prompting criticism that the president’s contempt for Muslims factors into his decision.
Trump rejected the increasing global condemnation of Saudi officials over their apparent involvement in the likely slaying of Jamal Khashoggi, the Associated Press reported.
“I think we have to find out what happened first. Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned,” the president stated.
Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who was also a U.S. resident working for The Washington Post, walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct. 2 but never walked out again. Turkish investigators reported finding evidence that the journalist was murdered inside the consulate, probably as punishment for criticizing Saudi leaders.
Trump pointed to not jeopardizing a lucrative weapons deal with the Saudi government as part of his reason for giving them the benefit of the doubt. But there’s another obvious reason that few have been willing to voice.
“Let me just say it: If Jamal Khashoggi weren’t a Muslim from the Middle East but rather a white man from Europe, the Trump administration’s response would be totally different! Khashoggi was a columnist at The Washington Post for God’s sake! Hell, (it) could be me,” New York Times columnist Charles Blow tweeted.
Trump has a long, documented history of Muslim bias—from questioning whether President Barack Obama is secretly practicing Islam to the Muslim travel ban that his administration has boldly defended in the courts.