It’s been amply established that Pat Robertson is a ghost from the past. This is a man who thinks mothers of sexual assault victims should just “get over it,” and found a way to tell a bushel full of lies while wagging his finger at the mainstream media for lying. And that’s just in this year alone. The list of outrages from the Virginia Beach Ayatollah over the past seven decades would fill several articles.
But on Wednesday’s edition of “The 700 Club,” Robertson may have set a new low for tone-deafness. In the face of international outrage over the apparent murder of Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi, Pat claimed with a straight face that we’re making a big deal out of nothing.
Just hours before “The 700 Club” went to air, Donald Trump announced that he was sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to personally meet with Saudi King Salman in the face of growing international outrage over Khashoggi’s death. Khashoggi, who fled to the United States after getting in the bad books of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and hasn’t been seen alive since.
Turkish authorities told their American counterparts this weekend that they have audio and video evidence that shows Khashoggi never got out of the consulate alive. The footage reportedly shows Khashoggi being collared, killed and dismembered by a 15-man Saudi security team.
And yet, Robertson somehow would like us to believe that those demanding answers for this outrage have their priorities out of whack. Watch here.
Robertson felt that he needed to “cool down the temper of those screaming blood” over this issue. He told his viewers to remember that the Saudis are important allies in the Middle East, particularly against Iran. He believed that it would be a “mistake” to threaten sanctions and “get tough” if it turns out Riyadh was directly involved. Specifically, he opposed calls to pull out of a lucrative arms deal with Saudi Arabia if it turns out that the Saudi government was responsible for Khashoggi’s death.
Um, Pat? We have every right to be “screaming blood” over this. At worst, we may be dealing with an act of state terrorism–and against a man who was a legal resident of the United States, and therefore entitled to our protection. Moreover, there is ample evidence that the Trump administration was aware there was a contract out on Khashoggi. But we don’t know what the White House did with this information.
Given the circumstances, if Riyadh’s fingerprints are on Khashoggi’s apparent death, it wouldn’t be a “mistake” to “get tough.” Basic decency would demand it.
Those demands should become louder after CNN learned that the Saudis are prepared to admit Khashoggi was indeed murdered. Watch here.
CNN’s Arwa Damon reported that the Saudis are preparing a report that will conclude that Khashoggi’s death occurred after a planned interrogation and rendition went sideways. That report will also reportedly claim that the attempt was carried out “without clearance or transparency,” and those involved will have to answer for it.
We’ll have to take this report with a tanker full of salt. For one thing, according to Turkish officials, there are two big indications that the security team–or more accurately, the hit team–never intended for Khashoggi to come out alive. They brought a bone saw with them, and one of the hit team members was an autopsy expert. So you still feel the need to “cool down the temper” over this, Pat?
But even if we do take Riyadh at its word, this report would be a tacit admission that Saudi Arabia can’t control its own officials. The hit team traveled on diplomatic passports, and at least some of them have high-level connections in the government. Given that Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, at best a lot of very senior people should have made it their business to know what was going on–and didn’t. And when that’s the best-case scenario, that doesn’t allow anyone in Riyadh to look very good.
So riddle me this, Pat. Either Saudi Arabia doesn’t seem to be able to keep its senior officials from going rogue, or it committed an act of state terrorism. In either case, do you still believe it would be a “mistake” to crack the whip on Riyadh? If you do, then your moral compass is even more warped than we thought.
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