The White House won’t say whether President Biden will bring up Jamal Khashoggi’s name during meetings with Saudi officials this week, despite Khashoggi’s widow saying the administration assured her he would.
Biden will meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) later this week following appearances in Israel. Khashoggi’s widow, Hanan Elatr Khashoggi, met with White House officials last week, and she told Fox News host Bill Hemmer that they assured her that Khashoggi’s name would come up.
“Yes, they did assure me that the human rights issue, and on top of it my husband’s tragedy — it will come up,” she told Hemmer on Thursday.
The White House declined to say whether Biden planned to broach the subject.
“We’re not in the habit of previewing private discussions we have with other leaders before they happen, but President Biden took actions with respect to the Khashoggi murder right after coming into office,” the White House told Fox News Digital on Thursday.
“The President’s views on human rights are clear and longstanding, and fundamental freedoms are always on the agenda when he travels abroad, just as they will be during this trip,” it continued.
Khashoggi’s wife says she remains confident that Biden will bring up the issue despite the White House’s statement.
Khashoggi was infamously murdered and dismembered during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Turkish officials alleged that he was murdered by a Saudi team sent to Istanbul expressly for that purpose.
Khashoggi was a U.S. resident and writer for the Washington Post who was heavily critical of MBS.
His wife went on to tell Fox that her husband’s legacy has been coopted by some in the media, and that his primary concern was always the release of political prisoners in Saudi Arabia.
When Biden first entered office, his administration vowed to treat the Saudis as a “pariah state,” but Biden has softened on the regime as global gas prices have skyrocketed.
Former Saudi Arabian intelligence official Saad Aljabri argues Biden was right to hold the regime at arm’s length, however.
“I am here to sound the alarm about a psychopath, killer, in the Middle East with infinite resources, who poses threat to his people, to the Americans, and to the planet,” Aljabri said of MBS in a ‘60 Minutes’ interview on Tuesday.
“A psychopath with no empathy, doesn’t feel emotion, never learned from his experience. And we have witnessed atrocities and crimes committed by this killer,” he added.
Aljabri says it is only a matter of time until MBS has him killed.