An America First administration should unambiguously side with a legal resident of the United States against a foreign government. Such an administration should also strive to keep America out of other countries’ wars.
Journalists in particular are rightly outraged by the tone and substance of Trump’s statement on Khashoggi. Let’s not forget to direct some of that outrage toward what he said—and what our government does—about Yemen too.
Our Yemen policy is despicable and indefensible, as I have said many times, and it is more than enough cause for outrage by itself, but I think the thing that made yesterday’s statement more obnoxious than usual was the blatant lying to cover for that policy and the obvious enthusiasm for the relationship with Saudi war criminals. Blaming Iran for a war that they have almost nothing to do with when our government has enabled Saudi and Emirati invasion and occupation of another country for more than three and a half years is a hideous warping of reality that used to be called Orwellian before the president made it a regular staple of our news diet. Most Americans might understand that the U.S. sometimes has to work with awful regimes when necessary, but there aren’t very many that are positively excited about the prospect of arming people that massacre schoolchildren and blow up weddings.
Americans understand that the U.S. sells weapons to several unsavory regimes that it calls “allies,” but I suspect there aren’t many that think this is something to be celebrating and defending. Both the tenor and content of Trump’s message (complete with multiple exclamation points) suggested that he thought it was something worth boasting about: look at all the blood money that I am bringing in! Our relationship with Saudi Arabia is a shameful one and one that urgently needs to be reassessed and radically changed, but Trump was eager to show that he is incapable of shame and won’t do anything that might offend Riyadh.
Like Pompeo’s bogus certification that the Saudi coalition was making an effort to reduce civilian casualties when they clearly weren’t, Trump’s claims about the war on Yemen were lies and insults to the intelligence of every minimally informed person in the world. Coming on the heels of the House GOP leadership’s torpedoing of H.Con.Res. 138, the statement was a slap in the face to everyone that has worked to bring an end to the illegal, unauthorized involvement of the U.S in this war. The good news is that Trump’s shameless endorsement of Saudi Arabia was so excessive that is is already energizing bipartisan opposition to the war on Yemen and future arms sales, and it has given critics of the U.S.-Saudi relationship every reason to dig into the president’s connections to the kingdom.