Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to “sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia” in the aftermath of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“You know, we deal with bad people all the time, but this is in our face. I feel personally offended. They have nothing but contempt for us,” the South Carolina Republican said Tuesday morning. “Why would you put a guy like me and the president in this box?”
Trump had said Monday he heard from the Saudis that there was a possibility the journalist was murdered by “rogue killers” while inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.
Speaking on Fox & Friends, Graham said he had repeatedly gone to the Senate floor to defend Saudi Arabia when the kingdom has been criticized, but he said won’t be doing business with Saudi Arabia until Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is ousted.
“Nothing happens in Saudi Arabia without MBS knowing it,” Graham said. “I can never do business with Saudi Arabia again until we get this behind us.”
Graham is among numerous lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats, who have called for some sort of punishment for Riyadh.
Graham made his comments while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was traveling to Saudi Arabia at the request of President Donald Trump, and he is the chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the State Department and U.S. foreign aid programs. He is also a senior member of the Armed Services Committee and has been a frequent visitor to the Middle East.
“I’m not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as this guy’s in charge,” Graham said. “This guy is a wrecking ball. He had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey, and to expect me to ignore it? I feel used and abused. I was on the floor every time defending Saudi Arabia cause there’s a good ally.”
“The MBS figure is to me toxic. He can never be a world leader on the world stage,” he said. “Saudi Arabia, if you’re listening: There’s a lot of good people you could choose, but MBS has tainted your country and tainted himself.”
Watch: Trump Suggests ‘Rogue Killers’ Could Be Responsible for Saudi Journalist’s Death