When campaigning for president, Joe Biden made a bold foreign policy declaration that he was going to make the Saudis “pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are,” adding that there’s “very little socially redeeming value in the present government.”
It seemed an odd statement at the time, not one that would really bring votes, but definitely as one of the areas in which he campaigned to have his policies opposite of President Trump who had engaged the Saudis closely, made Saudi Arabia the first country he visited as president, and about whose role in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi he equivocated.
Indeed, it was the murder of Khashoggi to which Biden was responding and which, until now, in his presidency, has governed his policy and public relations with the Saudis, particularly the Crown Prince, MBZ, who is alleged to have had a direct role in the murder. Biden went so far as to pledge to punish the Saudis over Khashoggi’s murder.
Biden’s comments during the campaign came to light recently as news of his trip to Saudi Arabia in July was released. It’s not entirely clear what he will or won’t be