UPDATED 9:28 AM PT – Tuesday, July 19, 2022
President Joe Biden’s national security staff is rushing to his defense amid outcry over his recent trip to Saudi Arabia. During an interview Monday, White House spokesman John Kirby stressed the US and Saudi Arabia are deeply entangled. The Coordinator for Strategic Communications added, the Biden administration has enormous interest in the kingdom and could not pass up a meeting with the Crown Prince.
His comments comes as critics have lambasted Biden for begging Saudi Arabia for oil and being friendly with its leadership, despite calling it a “pariah state” on the campaign trail. However, Kirby claimed Biden’s Middle East tour was integral in advancing his agenda and asserted it will yield some positive results.
“They (the meetings) produced results and they will probably produce results in the future that are in the best interest of the American people,” he stated. “The President went on this trip because it was in the national interest that he do it.”
The White House aid went on to say Biden and the Crown Prince came together on several issues, including efforts to denuclearize Iran. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced tough questions about Biden’s trip to the Middle East and his talks with Saudi leadership.
During a press briefing Monday, she defended Biden while echoing his claims that he was tough to those he spoke to and discussed human rights with them. Her remarks came despite the foreign minister and Saudi leadership denying Biden had any such conversation with them.
“Does the president still believe that Saudi Arabia and the crown prince should be considered ‘a pariah’?”
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: *word salad* pic.twitter.com/tI8cYj4G0c
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 18, 2022
Jean-Pierre was asked if Biden still labels Saudi Arabi as a “pariah” despite the meeting, but played off the question by saying Biden has already addressed it. The President has not been clear with Saudi Arabia’s status, only saying he doesn’t regret labeling them a “pariah” during the campaign.