Donald Trump is pretty proud of the terrific job he did of protecting Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) from facing any consequences over the 2018 murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and he didn't mind telling Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward all about it. That's the latest Scandal McNugget from Woodward's book Help! There's a Sociopath in the White House and He's Scaring Me! according to Business insider, which got a copy of the book (also known by its real title, Rage). Trump bragged to Woodward that "I saved his ass" during international outrage at the Saudis for assassinating and dismembering Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. Trump just couldn't stop patting himself on the back about the great job he'd done preserving the US's very lucrative and influential military sales to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which would be nothing without an important friend like Donald Trump.

Why no, the horror of the deliberate murder and dismemberment of a journalist who lived in America didn't seem to occur at all to Trump. People do bad things all the time and there are dictators to impress.


Woodward wrote that Trump had called him on January 22, following the World Economic Summit at Davos, Switzerland. Hey, Mr. "President," how about that horrible political murder of a Washington Post columnist who criticized the Saudi government? That's pretty awful, huh? Care to stand up for the freedom of journalists to criticize repressive regimes? Haha, of course you don't!

"The people at the Post are upset about the Khashoggi killing," Woodward told Trump [...]. "That is one of the most gruesome things. You yourself have said."

"Yeah, but Iran is killing 36 people a day, so —" Trump began, before Woodward redirected the conversation and continued to press Trump about MBS's role in ordering Khashoggi's killing.

"I saved his ass," Trump had said amid the US outcry following Khashoggi's murder, the book says. "I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop."

That's the thing people don't understand about Donald Trump: He does have empathy, for himself and the people he wants to impress. Anyone else, of course, is unimportant, and why should he give two shits?

Trump went on to tell Woodward that when it comes to understanding the ramifications of allowing a US ally to get away with silencing a critic by sending a kill team to a third country, murdering him in the embassy, and then disposing of his dismembered remains who know where, nobody's smarter than Donald J. Trump, top diplomat: "Well, I understand what you're saying, and I've gotten involved very much. I know everything about the whole situation."

We're frankly surprised that Trump didn't then tell Woodward how good he is at pointing to "camel." You know they have lots of camels in Saudi Arabia, Bob? But they have cars, too, big Mercedes limousines. A lot of people don't know they have cars, not just camels.

But it's true that Trump was big league involved in the aftermath of the killing, even sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia to (allegedly) help the royals figure out how to shield themselves from responsibility, at least according to an outlet linked to the Turkish government. At the very least, Pompeo held MBS's hand, assured him we're still best pals, and didn't scold him or call him a very naughty crown prince.

Even though US intelligence determined that the crown prince had ordered Khashoggi's murder (as had other countries' intelligence services, and a UN report), Trump wanted Woodward to know he believes MBS when he says he's innocent. That, after all, is the most useful statement to Trump, so it must be the truth.

"He will always say that he didn't do it," Trump said of MBS. "He says that to everybody, and frankly I'm happy that he says that. But he will say that to you, he will say that to Congress, and he will say that to everybody. He's never said he did it."

"Do you believe that he did it?" Woodward asked.

"No, he says that he didn't do it," Trump replied.

And here's the tell, kids: Trump believes MBS's denials because the Kingdom buys loads and loads of US weapons, and that's the fact that matters most.

"I know, but do you really believe —" Woodward said before Trump cut him off.

"He says very strongly that he didn't do it," Trump said. "Bob, they spent $400 billion over a fairly short period of time."

And that's how Donald Trump knows MBS is telling the truth and everyone else has it wrong. Besides, they have that religion of theirs, whatever it is, and that makes the Saudis big players. Which makes Trump a big player:

And you know, they're in the Middle East. You know, they're big. Because of their religious monuments, you know, they have the real power. They have the oil, but they also have the great monuments for religion. You know that, right? For that religion.

They wouldn't last a week if we're not there, and they know it.

You don't just throw away your friendship with a big player over some journalist, Bob. Journalists are a dime a dozen, but princes are hard to come by.

The Business Insider piece doesn't note whether Bob Woodward knows about the monuments. But it did point out that at Trump's presser yesterday, a reporter tried to get Trump to explain the comments reported in the book. We'll give you the full paragraph because we love how carefully it makes use of quotation marks:

When a reporter pressed Trump on Thursday about what the president meant when he said he'd "saved" the Saudi leader's "ass," Trump replied: "You'll have to figure that out yourself."

Ooh! We know! We know! Pick us! Trump means he saved MBS's ass because it's a very good ass for doing business with, and if he hadn't saved it, Trump wouldn't be able to kiss it, happy Friday, the end.

[Business Insider]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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