WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump said on Friday that he plans to speak with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who has been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
“I will be calling at some point King Salman,” Trump said in a statement to reporters in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“A lot of people are looking to find out because it is potentially a really, really terrible situation,” the president added with reference to the journalist’s possible murder.
Trump promised to get to the bottom of what happened and said that “right now, nobody knows anything about it,” though people are beginning to form ideas.
As for his friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, and especially those of his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, he said: “Well I don’t know if it’s any closer than other relationships that people have. We have a lot of very close relationships with a lot of countries.”
Trump has said that he is concerned about the disappearance of Khashoggi, who lives in the US and writes a column for The Washington Post, but also shows an unwillingness to consider sanctioning Saudi Arabia for the matter.
The president said on Thursday that it “would not be acceptable” to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia if Washington determined that Khashoggi, who had been critical of Riyadh, was slain inside the consulate, as his friends and colleagues have claimed.
According to The Washington Post, the Turkish government would have informed US authorities that they had video and audio recordings showing that the journalist was murdered in the consulate.