Mike Pompeo Grilled After Trump Backs Saudis: Does ‘America First’ Mean Putting Money Over Human Rights?


President Donald Trump‘s shocking statement about Saudi Arabia and the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi became the main focus at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo‘s press briefing this afternoon.

In addition to beginning with “America First!” and “The world is a very dangerous place!”, Trump made it clear he is unequivocally standing by Saudi Arabia and actually said, “Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”

During the briefing today, Pompeo said “it’s a mean nasty world out there” and noted the vital American national interests in the region.

But Pompeo was also grilled about the president’s statement, including from one reporter who straight-up asked, “So does the America First agenda mean putting U.S. business interests ahead of human rights concerns?”

The reporter also asked about sanctions on Iran, which Pompeo answered first before circling back to Saudi Arabia:

“There has been an enormous effort with respect to fact-finding pertaining to the death – the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. A lot of U.S. resources have been committed to determine the facts to the best of our ability to determine precisely what happened there. The United States took a very strong response. We have sanctioned 17 individuals in connection with that investigation. We are at the same time committed to making sure that we place America’s national security interests and all the actions that take place in the context of doing the right thing to make sure that America continues to thrive and grow and when we do that, the world is better off for it, too, and the Middle East is better off as well.”

You can watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac