Biden’s “Shameful” Fist Bump with Saudi Crown Prince Sparks Outrage
President Joe Biden was widely criticized for fist-bumping Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who U.S. intelligence concluded was responsible for the murder of The Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.
U.S. officials released an intelligence report last year finding that MBS was responsible for Khashoggi’s death, based on his “control of decision making in the Kingdom, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Muhammed bin Salman’s protective detail in the operation, and the Crown Prince’s support for using violent measures to silence dissidents abroad, including Khashoggi.”
During his presidential campaign, Biden said MBS was responsible for Khashoggi’s murder and vowed to “make them pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are.” As such, the friendly greeting caught many by surprise.
The interaction quickly garnered many critics across the political spectrum, including The Washington Post CEO Fred Ryan.
“The fist bump between President Biden and Mohammed bin Salman was worse than a handshake – it was shameful. It projected a level of intimacy and comfort that delivers to MBS the unwarranted redemption he has been desperately seeking,” Ryan said in a statement.
WaPo reporter Tyler Pager noted that the “Saudi government [was] quick to post photos of the fist bump between Biden and MBS.”
Author Brahma Chellaney said: “Biden lectures the world on morality, including using ‘moral outrage’ as a weapon to rally support against Russia. But his pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia betrays his false moralizing. His trip essentially is about cozying up to the mastermind of Jamal Khashoggi’s ghastly murder.”
“A fist bump for the Saudis and the middle finger to Texas, Colorado, Alaska, North Dakota, and New Mexico, who stand ready to produce the oil Biden is begging Saudi Arabia for,” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) said. “America LAST.”