Diplomats Disgusted With Pompeo’s, Trump’s Acceptance Of Saudi Excuses

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, on October 16, 2018. - Pompeo held talks with Saudi King Salman seeking answers about the disappearance of journalist... US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, on October 16, 2018. - Pompeo held talks with Saudi King Salman seeking answers about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, amid US media reports the kingdom may be mulling an admission he died during a botched interrogation. (Photo by LEAH MILLIS / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read LEAH MILLIS/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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October 22, 2018 8:20 a.m.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman last week, replete with broad grins and obsequiously grateful press releases, struck a discordant note with many in the light of the meeting’s purpose: to suss out the details of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

According to a Sunday Vanity Fair report, the “grip and grin” particularly disturbed D.C.’s diplomatic and intelligence corps.

“Pompeo did not handle this well,” a former State Department official told Vanity Fair. “I don’t think it would have been difficult to be more somber in meetings and more nuanced in comments afterward.”

“Certainly from where I sit, it is discouraging to see the administration seemingly subordinate our values to other interests in such an egregious case,” a current State Department official added.

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Pompeo is taking the lead from his boss, as President Donald Trump has shown extreme reluctance to punish bin Salman, with whom he and his son-in-law Jared Kushner are close.

Though Trump has tried to distance himself from the prince, he still sang his praises late Saturday in an interview with the Washington Post, praising bin Salman’s strength and “very good control.”

“I would love it if he wasn’t responsible,” Trump added of Khashoggi’s murder.

However, bin Salman’s distance from the event is getting harder and harder to believe, as reports surfaced Monday that multiple phone calls were made from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi died to the crown prince on the day of the murder.

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