- Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was “toxic” and could “never be a world leader on the world stage.”
- Graham said the crown prince had the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi “murdered.”
- The Republican senator said he planned to “sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia.”
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday said Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was “toxic” and could “never be a world leader on the world stage.”
Graham said he believed the crown prince had the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi “murdered” in Turkey and said he felt “personally offended” by what had happened given how often he had defended the kingdom’s interests on the Senate floor.
“This guy is a wrecking ball, he had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey, and to expect me to ignore it, I feel used and abused,” Graham said in an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
Graham also said the US shouldn’t do business with Saudi Arabia again “until we get this behind us.” The Republican senator said he would not go back to Saudi Arabia as long as Prince Mohammed was in charge.
Lindsey Graham: MBS is a "wrecking ball" who had Khashoggi murdered, he's "toxic" and he's "gotta go."
"This guy is a wrecking ball, he had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey, and to expect me to ignore it, I feel used and abused." (via Fox) pic.twitter.com/aUnZQzsdb8
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 16, 2018
When asked what President Donald Trump should do about the situation, Graham said “it’s up to him,” adding that Graham planned to “sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia.”
Since being named crown prince and heir to the throne last year, Prince Mohammed has made numerous controversial moves to consolidate power, including arresting other princes and prominent business executives, part of the reason Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia for the US in June 2017.
Khashoggi disappeared on October 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, and Turkish officials have said he was interrogated and killed there. Saudi Arabia has so far denied harming Khashoggi and claim he safely departed the consulate, but it has not provided evidence to confirm this.
On Tuesday, a high-level Turkish official said the police found “certain evidence” Khashoggi was killed in the consulate.
Khashoggi’s mysterious disappearance has placed the relationship between the US and Saudi governments in a precarious position. A bipartisan group of senators have called for the US to cease arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and many have also signalled support for economic sanctions in relation to the Khashoggi case.