One of the hotly contested topics leading up to the 2024 presidential election is the United States’ reliance on oil from the Middle East. The current Biden administration appears to be okay with relying on other nations for our oil, in contrast to former President Trump, who argued for the U.S. to be more independent in terms of oil production while also taking a tough stance against OPEC.
Reuters revealed one instance of then-President Trump’s interactions with Saudi Arabia in the spring of 2020:
“…President Donald Trump gave Saudi leaders an ultimatum. In an April 2 phone call, Trump told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that unless the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) started cutting oil production, he would be powerless to stop lawmakers from passing legislation to withdraw U.S. troops from the kingdom. The threat to upend a 75-year strategic alliance was central to the U.S. pressure campaign that led to a landmark global deal to slash oil supply as demand collapsed in the coronavirus pandemic – scoring a diplomatic victory for the White House.”
“Trump delivered the message to the Crown Prince 10 days before the announcement of production cuts. The kingdom’s de facto leader was so taken aback by the threat that he ordered his aides out of the room so he could continue the discussion in private… The effort illustrated Trump’s strong desire to protect the U.S. oil industry from a historic price meltdown as governments shut down economies worldwide to fight the virus.”
Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, now appears to have a different opinion of the present administration and is less likely to offer favors.
The prince, often known as “MBS,” led OPEC+ in its decision to decrease production by 2 million barrels per day, despite President Biden’s request that he not do so at this time. As a result, gas prices increased a month before the U.S. midterm elections.
Biden promised to “reevaluate” Washington’s relationship with Riyadh in a CNN interview from last week. The Saudis claim that they intend to do the same action.
When Biden and MBS met in July, he gave the man he had previously referred to as a “pariah” a contentious fist bump to begin the conversation. At the moment, the fist bump drew criticism because Salman was said to have authorized the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist for the Washington Post, in 2018.
Biden reportedly “laughed off” the backlash at the time, according to Politico.
When a reporter remarked that his earlier Friday encounter with the crown prince had drawn criticism, Biden grinned. When asked by the same reporter if he is confident a murder like that of Jamal Khashoggi won’t occur again, Biden said, “God love you. What a silly question. How can I possibly be sure of any of that?”.
According to the Wall Street Journal, during the meeting in July, Saudi officials believed Biden “didn’t want to be there and was uninterested in the policy discussion.”
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
The crown prince was angered when Biden mentioned the human rights violations, including the 2018 death of Khashoggi. Early in his presidency, Biden also released a report linking MBS to Khashoggi’s dismemberment.
Now when Biden is asking for favors, the leader’s feelings about the relationship are apparent. The U.S. president has asked Saudi Arabia to delay its decision on oil output by a month, putting the expected action after the mid-term elections.
Crown Prince Salman not only rejected President Biden’s request, but mocked the president as well. CONTINUE READING…