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NY Times Columnist Frank Bruni Wrecks Trump: He’s Trying to Help the Saudis ‘Launder Their Reputation’

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni is perplexed that President Donald Trump is — in his view — openly trying to help Saudi Arabia come up with a plausible way off the hook for the blowback they are receiving on the reported murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Appearing on New Day, the Times columnist blasted Trump for not even trying to hide his motives in preserving relations with the Saudis.

“From the beginning we’ve gotten the sense that what the president and his aides want to do is help the Saudis launder their representation, somehow in the wake of this, mutually agreeable version — let’s call that what it is — it’s a lie,” Bruni said. “And what I find sort of confounding here is President Trump wouldn’t be the first president to put strategic interests ahead of human rights. Why isn’t he denouncing the Saudis in public, and then if he’s concerned about the relationship picking up the phone and saying in private, ‘Guys, I got to do this, you know that. But, you know, you’re OK.’ Instead he’s actually in a bizarrely transparent way saying I want to help these guys find a reputational way out of this.”

Bruni added, “All this ridiculous stuff about guilty until proven innocent, rather than coming out and saying this is a sickening situation, this is not something we endorse in this country, this is not something we are willing to turn a blind eye to, he’s in public actually showing us how much he wants to help the crown prince find a way out of this.”

As for the optics of the situation for the president? Bruni believes it shows an image of Trump directly counter to the one he’s trying to portray.

“There’s no way you look at this behavior and you say ‘Our president is a strong man,” Bruni said. “He looks so, so weak.”

Watch above, via CNN.

[featured image via screengrab]

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