OSAKA, Japan – President Trump met here on the sidelines of a world summit with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and called him "a friend of mine," but the president declined to answer a question as to whether he would raise the issue of the murder of the Washington Post Columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
Trump praised bin Salman for a brief photo session after meeting with adjutants for a meeting on the sidelines of the Group 20 summit. But when reporters asked if Trump would address the death of Khashoggi, who was killed last year in a conspiracy led by the Saudi royal family, Trump tried to end the interrogation.
Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen, has been living outside the country in self-imposed exile since 2017, after angering the royal family over critical columns. He visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 to obtain marriage-related documents when he was kidnapped and killed.
But Trump and other senior government officials have reduced the assassination to a minimum, suggesting that it would be unwise for the United States to do so punishing Riyadh or cutting off relations with Mohammed over the murder since Saudi Arabia is an important partner of the United States in the Middle East.
In his remarks, Trump called it a "great honor" to be with the Crown Prince "Saudi Arabia is a good buyer of American products."