Friday, October 12, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He did a little gaslighting on the subject of a murdered journalist.

Trump spent much of yesterday and today under fire for shrugging off the disappearance of Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi. Asked about it en route to his thirty-fourth campaign rally since taking office, Trump said that "nobody knows" what happened to Khashoggi.

The Turkish government has said publicly that it has audio of Khashoggi being tortured inside the compound by men speaking Arabic. Khashoggi was a dissident who had angered the influential Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Not everything about the situation is yet known to the average citizen, but Trump is the President of the United States, and he almost certainly knew exactly what had happened to Khashoggi before his disappearance was made public. This knowledge would have come from intelligence intercepts and information provided directly to him by the Turkish government before Khashoggi was publicly reported missing. In fact, it is very likely that Trump was informed about the danger to Khashoggi before he even entered the embassy.

Trump is entangled in a number of personal and financial ways with the Saudi ruling elite. Saudi Arabia was the first foreign country Trump visited as president, and he was still talking about his "love" for the country's ruling royal family at a different campaign rally last week--after Khashoggi had disappeared, and after Trump had presumably been notified.

Why does this matter?

  • Playing dumb isn't a great look for the President of the United States.
  • A president who can't act in defense of American values, or the people under the protection of its laws, isn't fit for office.
  • There is a reason that every president before Trump made sure they couldn't be bribed or blackmailed by business connections before they took office.