In America, at this point in time, there was probably no better person than CNN’s Jim Acosta to ask Donald Trump about his decision to conduct business as usual with the Saudi government and crown prince Mohammad bin Salman after the CIA concluded that bin Salman himself ordered the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Acosta was recently barred from White House press conferences because Trump essentially didn’t like his questions, and even after being reinstated following a CNN lawsuit, Trump and co. are still trying to figure out ways to get rid of him.
Trump’s anti-media stance is obviously very different from Mohammad bin Salman’s, but the broad pattern is the same—anyone who questions the regime is persona non grata. So it’s appropriate that Acosta was the man to ask Trump the crucial question: “Are you letting the Saudis get away with murdering a journalist?”
“No,” Trump said, “This is about America First. They’re paying us $400 billion plus to purchase and invest in our country.” Those thoughts reflected his exclamation point-laden statement to the same effect, which basically acknowledges the truth of what happened—with a bizarre section exonerating the Saudis for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen—and offers a giant shoulder shrug. The explanation even trots out this line: “It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
But, you see, the Saudis are about to invest $450 billion in America, with much of that going to weapons purchases so they can continue terrorizing countries like Yemen. Money, as always, is more important than ethics to this president and his administration.