Real Clear Politics editor A.B. Stoddard offered a pointed criticism of President Trump for casting doubt on whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump wrote in the statement that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman "vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. 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!"

Stoddard nodded to Trump's ally, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said the White House statement read like "Saudi Arabia First" and not "America First."


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"The message that this sends around the world to our allies and our adversaries is one of weakness and abandonment of our values," Stoddard said.

Stoddard said Trump's statement showed he was "standing with Saudi Arabia" and eschewed the "values" America stands for. 

"It was 'if they are going to give us money, we need them'," Stoddard said, noting that Trump mentioned the importance of defense contracts with Riyadh.

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