- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 21, 2018

President Trump thanked Saudi Arabia for lower gas prices Wednesday morning, a day after he made the controversial decision to stand by the country despite its role in the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The president said the U.S. would stick with its “steadfast partner” because of its important economic ties to Saudi Arabia. The official statement claimed that the world “may never know” what really happened to Mr. Khashoggi, but argued the relationship with the Middle Eastern kingdom is bigger than that.

“It’s a shame, but it is what it is,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “If we abandon Saudi Arabia, it would be a terrible mistake. I’m not going to destroy our economy by being foolish with Saudi Arabia.”

Bipartisan backlash surged from lawmakers after the White House made its official statement, and Mr. Trump said lawmakers are “free” to sanction Saudi Arabia if they want.

Mr. Khashoggi was killed by government agents in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in early October. The CIA reportedly concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of Mr. Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the Saudi government.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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