The secretary of commerce expressed surprise — and approval — at the lack of visible protests during President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, despite the ruling monarchy’s repression of demonstrations.
“I think the other thing that was fascinating to me — there was not a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there, not one guy with a bad placard,” Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC in an interview Monday.
“But Secretary Ross,” CNBC’s Becky Quick interjected. “That may be but not necessarily because they don’t have those feelings there but because they control people and don’t allow them to come and express their feelings quite the same as we do here.”
“In theory that could be true,” he replied. “But boy there was certainly no sign of it, there was not a single effort at any incursion. There wasn’t anything. The mood was a genuinely good mood.”
Protests in the country likely wouldn’t have caught Ross’s attention — they are often more subdued than marching in the street, and have included Saudi women walking alone, without an accompanying male guardian, in public.
In an address to Arab and Muslim leaders in the country Sunday, Trump said “We are not here to lecture — we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.”
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