Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) described Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, as a “wrecking ball,” and said the nearly all-powerful leader has “got to go” during an interview on Tuesday.
“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,” Graham said during an interview on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”
“This guy has got to go,” he added. “Saudi Arabia, if you’re listening, there are a lot of good guys you could choose, but MBS has tainted your country and tainted himself.”
The crown prince is not an elected position. The country’s aging leader King Salman, 82, appointed his son as crown prince last year.
Graham’s remarks follow the worldwide outcry over missing Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
What happened to the journalist?
Khashoggi, a well-known Saudi government critic, disappeared after he entered the Saudi Consulate on Oct. 2 in Istanbul.
While it’s still unclear what happened to Khashoggi, many fear he may have been murdered at the order of the 33-year-old crown prince.
Turkish authorities have claimed that they have evidence the journalist was killed and that his body was later removed from the embassy.
What else did Graham say?
Graham, who said he has been the country’s biggest defender on the floor of the U.S. Senate, vowed not to go back to Saudi Arabia as long as Bin Salman is in charge.
“I think this guy is on a bad track,” he said. ” I can never do business with Saudi Arabia again until we get this behind us.”
The senator went on to say that he believes Bin Salman had the journalist murdered.
“He had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it, I feel used and abused,” Graham continued.
Saudi Arabia has been a “good ally” to the U.S. but that Bin Salman is “toxic” and “he can never be a leader on the world stage.”
“There is a difference between a country and an individual,” he explained.
Graham said that it would be “up to the president” to choose how the U.S. responds to Saudi Arabia.
“What I would do?” Graham responded when asked what he would do. “I know what I’m going to do, I’m going to sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia.”
Watch the interview. Graham’s Saudia Arabia comments begin at 3:47.
What did Trump say?
President Donald Trump told CBS News’ “60 Minutes” on Sunday that Saudi Arabia would face “severe punishment” if Khashoggi, a legal resident of the U.S., was killed inside the consulate.
What did Saudi Arabia say?
“The Kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by waving economic sanctions, using political pressure, or repeating false accusations,” the government said in a statement issued by the Saudi Press Agency over the weekend.
“The Kingdom also affirms that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action, [and] that the Kingdom’s economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy,” it continued.
President Trump sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia where he arrived on Tuesday to meet with the country’s top officials.
— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) October 16, 2018