Arabian Knights?

It’s obvious that President Trump never met a rich autocrat he didn’t like.

We’ve seen him kiss up to Putin, find common ground–and hair– with “Little Rocket Man.” And his first trip abroad as President was to Saudi Arabia.

Trump’s cozy relationship with the Saudis is finally getting some attention, in the wake of the presumed murder of a Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, who had been critical of the regime. And the relationship was, indeed, quite cozy. It appears that Trump hasn’t just owed the various bailouts of his bad business bets to Russian oligarchs–the Saudis have been equally helpful.

As Talking Points Memo has reported,

He’s booked hotel rooms and meeting spaces to them, sold an entire floor in one of his buildings to them and, in desperate moments in his career, gotten a billionaire from the country to buy his yacht and New York’s Plaza Hotel overlooking Central Park.

President Donald Trump’s ties to Saudi Arabia run long and deep, and he’s often boasted about his business ties with the kingdom.

“I love the Saudis,” Trump said when announcing his presidential run at Trump Tower in 2015. “Many are in this building.”

According to former federal ethics chief Walter Shaub, the Saudis have continued funneling money to Trump during his Presidency. Shaub is currently advising a watchdog group that is suing Trump for violating the Emoluments Clause by continuing to profit from foreign government ties to his business.

For a man who is so critical of Muslims, Trump sure is willing to make concessions when money is involved.

Trump has said that he doesn’t want to do anything that might scuttle a pending huge arms sale to the Saudis. (America–that “Shining City on a Hill”–seems perfectly okay with arming the worst people on the globe…).

In all fairness, Trump isn’t the only President who has befriended this deeply troubling Mideast power, mostly for their oil. But in his case, it’s clearly personal.

In 1991, as Trump was teetering on personal bankruptcy and scrambling to raise cash, he sold his 282-foot Trump yacht “Princess” to Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin-Talal for $20 million, a third less than what he reportedly paid for it.

Four years later, the prince came to his rescue again, joining other investors in a $325 million deal for Trump’s money-losing Plaza Hotel.

In 2001, Trump sold the entire 45th floor of the Trump World Tower across from the United Nations in New York for $12 million, the biggest purchase in that building to that point, according to the brokerage site Streeteasy. The buyer: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Shortly after he announced his run for president, Trump began laying the groundwork for possible new business in the kingdom. He registered eight companies with names tied to the country, such as “THC Jeddah Hotel Advisor LLC” and “DT Jeddah Technical Services,” according to a 2016 financial disclosure report to the federal government. Jeddah is a major city in the country.

The relationship didn’t cool when Trump became President. Far from it.

A public relations firm working for the kingdom spent nearly $270,000 on lodging and catering at his Washington hotel near the Oval Office through March of last year, according to filings to the Justice Department. A spokesman for the firm told The Wall Street Journal that the Trump hotel payments came as part of a Saudi-backed lobbying campaign against a bill that allowed Americans to sue foreign governments for responsibility in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The Saudi government has been a valued customer at the Trump International Hotel in New York, where a visit in March by a group accompanying Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman boosted room rentals at the hotel by 13 percent for the first three months of the year, after two years of decline.

There’s much more, but I was particularly intrigued by this report from Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

Back in 2016, Jamal Khashoggi, who by all indications was murdered by Trump and Kushner’s buddy Mohammad bin Salman at the Saudi embassy in Turkey, was banned from writing for any newspaper in Saudi Arabia because he wrote something critical of Donald Trump. Until then, he had a weekly column in a Saudi paper.

Birds of a feather….


  1. Back in the Watergate investigation days, when a news report of some detail of that scandal came out, a wise friend advised that , “No matter how bad it looks now, believe me, it is worse… much worse.” I keep that message in mind these days as I follow the latest news about the Trump Administration. I also keep in mind that in the end the truth did come out, and all of the lies and deceit fell away like the cheap veneer on an aging whore so that all could see, and no one could deny, what was there all along.

  2. MBS had one of the most amazing recoveries of memories I’ve ever witnessed. First, he did not know the whereabouts of Jamal. As the evidence piled up against him, he then admitted that Jamal might have died during a botched interrogation at the Embassy in Turkey.

    There were photographs from journalists on Twitter showing a cleaning truck arriving at the Embassy before investigators. As of yesterday late afternoon, investigators found “evidence.”

    The Saudis were laundering money in Trump’s hotels. Russians did the same thing. Of course, Don’s son-in-law arranged for cash payments.

    Meanwhile, how long have progressives been yelling about Yemen while we buy Saudi oil and sell them billions in weapons to carry out genocide?

    The worst crooks in the world are running this country and others while most Americans worry whether or not the Kardashian’s are splitting up or taking polls on whether Lowe’s violated the sanctity of Christmas by putting out decorations too early.

    Also related news, potential sanctions against the Kingdom and MBS’s retaliatory oil embargo is “good news” for American Oil Companys who could see $100 a barrel.

    Can anybody stretch your frontal lobe this morning to envision the conspiracy theories which will emanate from the Turkey embassy assassination of Jamal?

    This will not end well…

  3. CNN reports Saudis willing to admit Khashoggi was killed during an interrogation? What did they wish to gain from him or want him to relinquish? Unfortunately it sounds more like torture. Foreign governments obviously can’t be controlled, what sanctions should be raised. Business investors from the west atleast are beginning to withdraw admits a CNN report.
    How will Trump come out of this is how he responds over the next few weeks. It appears to be difficult with so many ties to say the least.

  4. As hinted at in today’s column, other presidents, especially Bush, were thick as thieves with the Saudis. That ongoing relationship no doubt contributed to the definition of the Iranians as public enemy number one rather than the Saudis who spawned the 9/11 bombers and Madrasas all over the world.

  5. First; thank you to who or however today’s blog appeared on my computer.

    To those on both sides of the aisle who are still telling us to wait for evidence before casting blame for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi; it has been TWO WEEKS since he walked into the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey and never seen to walk out again. Who should we consider a likely suspect? No one person or group has actually been named as the suspect(s); logic and common sense tells us to start with where he was last seen. He didn’t disappear from his legal residence here in the United States or from his place of employment, the Washington Post. It is doubtful we will ever learn the full truth about this, one of many, disappearances of journalists; where there is no doubt is in Trump’s years of financial connections to the Saudies and his reason to alibi them by suggesting “rogue killers” probably did it! Trump has every reason to cast suspicion away from his money sources; we have been watching him do this for years.

    I repeat my last comment from yesterday; will we begin hearing “Off with their heads!” coming from our White House?

    VOTE BLUE! I did!

  6. Pres has a habit of fabricating useful lies for the guys who own him. Sending Pompeo to visit the Saudis was more political theater. Just like the Russian interference in the 2016 elections, Trump has no interest in the any truth that would result in his loans being called.

  7. Many innocent people have perished under interrogation
    because of the GWOT. Only now we claim indignation for one interrogation when there have been many. Only because the death of a journalist can be used as political fodder. Pathetic really.

  8. I know I’m somewhat cynical, but how long will it be before more American journalists critical of trump disappear. Dismemberment seems like a warning.

  9. It seems that every week brings a new story about graft, corruption and bodily injury to those who oppose Trump and his pals. The Russians poison people. The Saudis “disappear” them. And ALWAYS there is a money connection to Donald Trump and his criminal enterprise. Well done voters. You really know how to pick ’em.

    Yes. What comes next? Is it any wonder that our media are under daily attack by Trump and his cohorts? When will our news people start getting arrested or worse? When that day comes – and it will as long as Trump is president – we’ll know beyond doubt that we have descended into a third-world banana republic fronted by a tyrannical maniac. We can all see that this is the direction president Trump is taking our beloved country.

    Todd keeps complaining about the corporate-owned media being somehow complicit to Trump’s crime world, and maybe he’s right. Maybe that’s all that’s keeping them from disappearing too. Then, when our media begin to be thwarted from the un-Constitutional regime now in charge, it’ll be time for a revolution.

  10. I am far from a conspiracy theorist. However, I do find it disturbing that almost simultaneously with the “disappearance” of the journalist in a Turkish embassy, the #Talibangelist right wing was swooning over DJT like teenage boys because the preacher was released from a Turkish prison.

    We all know how this game is played. The rwnj of the GOP needed to appear to boost DJT and the GOP in general.
    Far fetched? I don’t think so.

  11. Surely no one is surprised by 45’s response to Khashoggi’s killing. We have a President who is devoid of anything even approaching principles or values. He just wishes he were free to do those things here in the good old US of A. If the Republicans hold both the House and Senate, he will be. In fact, if they hold the Senate, we can all kiss our rights goodbye. Remember the judiciary is in their control.

  12. A quote was attributed to the infamous bank robber Willie Sutton (aka Slick Willie) was asked why he robbed banks? “Because that’s where the money is”.

    Building on the premise, “that’s where the money is”, we have this: Saudi Arabia shows up as having given between $10 million and $25 million since the foundation started. The foundation in this case is the Clinton Foundation. Donations also were made to the foundation by the governments of Algeria, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar. None of these countries are high on the list of championing human rights.
    Perhaps the Saudi’s just took a lesson from our US Government concerning rendition and torture, but botched it. Jamal Khashoggi was probably supposed to “disappear”.

    When the Saudi crown prince (aka MBS) made a three-week tour of the US in March this year, he made a point of visiting the titans of US tech industries on the west coast. Khashoggi is a US resident and a contributor to the Washington Post, whose owner, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, was one of the west coast moguls MBS schmoozed in March.

    President Agent Orange has tried to provide cover for the Saudi’s by suggesting a “rogue operation”. Dictatorships like Saudi Arabia do not permit rogue operations. President Agent Orange has also worried about jeopardizing an arms sale deal if we come down to hard on the Saudi’s. Human Rights be dammed Corporate Profits Trump human rights.

    Really it is as simple as, “Because that’s where the money is”. As long as the Saudi’s have the big bucks there will be no shortage of grovelling – Steroid Capitalism means never having to say you are sorry.

  13. The birds of a feather are in reality a bunch of plucked turkeys! The Saudi’s can’t hold their oil over our head anymore. Now it is arms sales… right. We arm the ones guarding the 7 Wahabist Mullahs that direct terrorism against our country and others,.. got ya.

  14. Trump once bragged that he could shoot someone on Fifth Ave in the daylight with witnesses and his base wouldn’t budge. Now he’s proven it. Trump is just one more thug in a world full of criminals. It’s his base and their entertainment media creator who are our problem. We are a few weeks away from measuring the numerical seriousness of our problem.

    If they outnumber and can out vote Americans then the Republic is lost. If we can outvote them the Constitution still has a chance of survival. However they still have the same advantage that states who built their economy on human livestock got built into the founders design of our government, land area favoring agricutural states is given substantial power over voters.

    The future of the Republic has come down to this.

  15. The continuous attacks against those of us who are just mere citizens has become over whelming.

    I am exhausted.

    We are constantly being attacked by either trump or the right wing senate and house. Many days the attacks are coming from all of them.

    I am completely exhausted.

  16. Enough whining, though completely justified, in re the murder of an American resident by the Saudis. Let’s talk solutions. I have one that will be DOA in the Oval Office and the Republican-led Congress. Cancel all military weapons contracts with the Saudis, end all contracts for imports of oil from the Saudis and sanction any country which continues to import their oil, reinstate the Iranian nuclear treaty, import Iranian oil and become friendly in general with the Iranians in return for their ending of interference in other countries’ internal affairs etc. )
    This will get the Saudis’ attention and that of Lockheed, Northrup et al. The military equipment we are selling to the Saudis is being used disastrously and inhumanely in Yemen, giving the lie to the argument that Iran is the only bad guy in the area which is helping beat up neighborhood states militarily. Both are guilty and we have to make a choice or kick both out of our chosen circle of “allies,” and right now I am thinking that as between the two Iran is the better choice. Far out thinking? How far out from American values is the arming of a primitive state whose nationals pulled off our 9-11 and who (along with Putin’s murdering antics via poisoning and “accidents”) have now decided to end the lives of dissidents on foreign soil? Chance that this or anything near it will become policy while the Saudis continue to bribe Trump? ZERO.

  17. Cindy Reinert; I happened to switch to MSNBC after the released minister had started his prayer over Trump. Wish I could see that film again because it appeared to me that he was praying for Trump to have develop those attributes…not thanking him for having them. As I said; I did miss the start so could be wrong. ..could also be my personal view of Trump affected my conclusion. Haven’t seen that prayer get much attention, nor has the minister or his release.

  18. Oops; poor editing on my part, that should say “it appeared to me that he was praying for Trump to develop those attributes”, please omit the word “have”

  19. Thank you Joe Donnelly, you now made my choice easy in voting for a Senate seat this year.

    Sen. Joe Donnelly’s latest ad is raising a few eyebrows among his Democratic base.

    He criticizes “socialists” for wanting government-run healthcare and “the radical left” for seeking to abolish I.C.E. — both concepts not commonplace in Democrat ads.
    “Over my dead body,” Donnelly says.

    And he closes with a nod to former Republican President Ronald Reagan.

    “As President Reagan said, ‘peace through strength,'” Donnelly says in the video, referencing his belief for increased military spending.

    He also mentions his support for funding President Donald Trump’s border wall.
    Earlier this year, Donnelly launched a Republicans for Joe group. But this is the first ad that shows Donnelly attacking the “radical left.”
    He criticizes “socialists” for wanting government-run healthcare. Who needs the Canadian Health Care System where everyone is in and nobody is out?? So yeah Donnelly has no heath care plan except what the corporations permit.

    Build that wall Joe, maybe you can make it a look like the Berlin Wall.

    So my Vote for Senate – None of the Above.

  20. Monotonous, just when I finally decided to vote for Donnelly I see this ad. Jeez, I spent a week protesting last summer at the ICE facility here in Indy where they were incarcerating whole families, separating the children from the parents and shipping the little tots off to God knows where. And the health care issue!!! One thing is clear; if elected, Donnelly will fit right in with the Trump Administration.

  21. Monotonous and Teresa,

    I share your disgust–BUT WE HAVE TO VOTE FOR DONNELLY, no matter how hard we have to hold our noses. A vote for Donnelly is a vote AGAINST Mitch McConnell, a vote FOR Democratic control (or at least strength) in the Senate. The most important vote Donnelly will cast is for Senate leadership, and that vote won’t be for Mitch McConnell. (He did vote against Kavanaugh)

  22. All true, fellow contributors! Joe votes wrong on, say 20 percent of the issues – but consider the alternative, to wit: his opponent who caucuses with the Republicans and votes wrong on 100 percent of the issues. I implore you to consider the alternative.

  23. I got exposed to Donnelly ads when visiting Indiana and interpreted then to what a Democrat has to say to get elected in a Republican stronghold.

    Was I wrong? Is their any real choice regardless?

  24. My fellow commenters:

    Gerald makes the relevant point. Donnelly may–strike that–will vote what most of us would consider “wrong” about 20% of the time. Don’t let your tempers or your disgust weaken your math skills. Eighty per cent of the time he votes with us. NO Republican will EVER do that and, None of the Above never votes with us either.

    In short form 100% – 20% = 80%
    100% – 100% = 0

    DO NOT BE FOOLED! Please.

  25. Not sure where your 80% number comes from on Donnelly. Donnelly voted 61% of the time in agreement with Elizabeth Warren. Donnelly voted 61% of time with Todd Young.

    Government-run healthcare – “Over my dead body,” Donnelly says.
    Well not actually over your dead body, but a lot of dead bodies that cannot afford Health Care including over priced life saving drugs.

  26. My math still tells the story.

    100%-39% = 61%
    100% – 100% =0

    Don’t know what else to say.

  27. “Political positions
    Donnelly is considered a moderate or conservative Democrat who “sometimes bucks his party on issues such as abortion, defense spending and the environment.”[34][35][36]According to Politico, “Donnelly is constantly dogged by Republicans aiming to unseat him” while also facing “disgruntled Democrats who think he’s far too conservative.”[37] In 2013, the National Journal gave Donnelly a composite score of 52% conservative and 48% liberal.[38] According to FiveThirtyEight, which tracks Congressional votes, Donnelly has voted with President Trump’s position 54.5% of the time.[39] Congressional Quarterly published a study finding that Donnelly voted with Trump’s positions 62% of the time.[40] According to GovTrack, Donnelly is the second most conservative Democrat, after Joe Manchin, and to the right of moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins.[41] He supported progressive taxation and organized labor, but opposed same-sex marriage and abortion, even in the case of rape, during his 2012 campaign.[42][43] On April 5, 2013, Donnelly endorsed same-sex marriage on his Facebook page.”

    Monotonous; the quote above is copied and pasted from the Wikipedia article regarding Sen. Joe Donnelly. Worse than I thought but his reelection to the Senate is more vital now than it was 6 years ago when he won because the Republican party turned their backs on Sen. Richard Lugar for the same reason Indiana voters want to turn their backs on Donnelly, they tried to replace him with that fool Mourdock. We have no one at this time to replace Donnelly.
    President Obama recently spoke about the importance of this mid-term election; the most important election this country has had for years (his paraphrased words). But his exact words were, “Do not be looking for a Messiah.” We NEED the number on the Democratic side of the aisle that Joe Donnelly represents. This is a numbers game; the basis for democracy is “majority rules” and it is vital to change the current majority or this nation is lost. And a continuation of Trump & Co. could mean a loss to Russia, Iran, North Korea and Saudi Arabia…including their way of dealing with those who speak against them.

    VOTE BLUE! Including Senator Joe Donnelly.

  28. We are stuck with this man. We have no choice. Not voting helps the GOP in ways that don’t appeal to this old woman…..hold your nose, if you must, but vote Blue!

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