They are just good friends

Trump is terribly worried about his dear friend the Saudi king.

When a Saudi Air Force officer opened fire on his classmates at a naval base in Pensacola, Fla., on Friday, he killed three, wounded eight and exposed anew the strange dynamic between President Trump and the Saudi leadership: The president’s first instinct was to tamp down any suggestion that the Saudi government needed to be held to account.

Hours later, Mr. Trump announced on Twitter that he had received a condolence call from King Salman of Saudi Arabia, who clearly sought to ensure that the episode did not further fracture their relationship. On Saturday, leaving the White House for a trip here for a Republican fund-raiser and a speech on Israeli-American relations, Mr. Trump told reporters that “they are devastated in Saudi Arabia,” noting that “the king will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones.” He never used the word “terrorism.”

Ahh they’re devastated are they. How very sad.

What was missing was any assurance that the Saudis would aid in the investigation, help identify the suspect’s motives, or answer the many questions about the vetting process for a coveted slot at one of the country’s premier schools for training allied officers. Or, more broadly, why the United States continues to train members of the Saudi military even as that same military faces credible accusations of repeated human rights abuses in Yemen, including the dropping of munitions that maximize civilian casualties.

Oh, that.

“Had an attack been carried out by any country on his Muslim ban, his reaction would have been very different,” said Aaron David Miller, a longtime Middle East negotiator and now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“But when it comes to Saudi, the default position is to defend,” he said, “Driven by oil, money, weapons sales, a good deal of Saudi feting and flattery, Trump has created a virtually impenetrable zone of immunity for Saudi Arabia.”

What can he say – he loves them. The heart wants what it wants.

After Mr. Pompeo announced that he had spoken with the Saudi foreign minister, Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud, about the shooting, Martin Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel and longtime Middle East negotiator, tweeted: “Isn’t it interesting how quick Trump and Pompeo are to broadcast Saudi government condolences for the murder of three Americans and how slow they were to criticize the Saudi government’s murder” of Mr. Khashoggi.

Look, the king showed Trump The Magic Sphere; after that what do you expect?

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