Two and a half years removed from his campaign trail vow to make Saudi Arabia’s leaders “pay the price” for their role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, U.S. President Joe Biden is reportedly planning to visit Riyadh in the coming days as part of the White House’s effort to shore up ties with the oil-rich kingdom as Russia’s war on Ukraine roils global energy markets.
According to the Washington Post, for which Khashoggi worked as a columnist, Biden administration officials have come to view a presidential visit to Saudi Arabia “as a necessary act of realpolitik to lower energy prices and inflation, despite a campaign promise to further isolate Riyadh.”
Matt Duss, a foreign policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was among those criticizing the planned visit as egregiously hypocritical, flying directly in the face of Biden’s rhetoric on the campaign trail and since taking office.
“If anyone can explain to me how this reflects the administration’s previously stated commitment to ‘a world in which human rights are protected, their defenders are celebrated, and those who commit human rights abuses are held accountable,’ I’d love to hear it,” said Duss.
Bill McKibben, an environmentalist and co-founder of 350.org, tweeted that he “can’t wait for the day when the world can stop sucking up to murderers simply because they have oil.”
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