Biden hosted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who US intelligence agencies say ordered the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, with a punch shortly after he arrived for a visit.
“No, I don’t think so,” Sanders, an independent who caucus with Democrats, said on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos when asked by host Martha Raddatz if Biden should have made the visit.
“You have a leader of the country who was implicated in the murder of a Washington Post reporter. I don’t think that type of government should be rewarded with a visit from the President of the United States,” Sanders said.
The killing of Khashoggi, a Saudi insider-turned-critic who was living in self-imposed exile in Virginia, is a major point of contention between the two countries. Bin Salman, the de facto Saudi leader, denies ordering it.
Biden said Friday, July 15, that he told the prince he held him responsible for killing Khashoggi. A Saudi official present at the meeting said the exchange was not as Biden portrayed it.
The trip was intended to reset relations with Saudi Arabia, which Biden said he would isolate internationally. Its struggle to reduce record gasoline prices this year has complicated the situation as the United States urges oil-producing countries to increase production to compensate for Russian losses following Western sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.