Sen. Richard Blumenthal

Jack Gruber-USA TODAY

Blumenthal: U.S. Needs To Take Tougher Stand On Saudi Arabia After Journalist's Apparent Murder

October 12, 2018 - 5:56 pm

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) -- The apparent murder of Washington-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi has raised concerns about the role of the Saudi government.

As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported Friday, reports indicate top Saudi officials ordered Khashoggi’s death because he was critical of the kingdom.

Some think the U.S. needs to take a tougher stand.

Despite reports that Khashoggi was murdered, there have been no threats or harsh words from the President Donald Trump. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) is troubled.

"The United States should really be re-evaluating its entire relationship with the Saudi kingdom," Blumenthal said.

He called for ripping up a deal calling for the U.S. to send military supplies to the Saudis.

"The $110 billion that's sold there cannot determine that we violate our basic values," Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal wonders if there is any link to Trump’s private business.

"Payments for rentals in Trump Towers, payments for condos that the Saudis have bought belonging to the Trump organization, other kinds of financial dealings and interests,” he said.

The senator said U.S. priorities need to come first.

Blumenthal also noted that there is a Connecticut connection to the controversy. Connecticut-based WWE has a big event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, called the “Crown Jewel” coming up on Nov. 2. Blumenthal told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott that WWE, and all other businesses, should rethink doing business in Saudi Arabia.

“All major private interests should review and relook their relationship with the Saudi Kingdom in light of its continuing pattern of abuse of civil rights and civil liberties, contempt for the rule of law, and bombing in Yemen using the United States military equipment and possible intelligence,” Blumenthal said.

Scott asked if Blumenthal if he would lean on the WWE to cancel the event, should there be more conclusive evidence that Khashoggi was murdered.

“I would hope that WWE will recognize on its own a conscience and conviction if there is proof that Saudi officials approved and ordered this kind of killing, and I would lean first on the United States government to do its duty so that it can lead private interests like WWE, and the first place to look is to the United States of America,” he said.