WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s refusal to put public pressure on Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is raising a question that has dogged his foreign policy.
In his dealings with authoritarian countries, Trump has often appeared comfortable downplaying concerns about rights abuses and dismissing the importance of U.S. moral leadership. The onetime real estate mogul is as likely to let U.S. financial or security interests guide his choices and his words.
In an Associated Press interview Tuesday, Trump repeated the Saudi royals’ denials of any involvement in Khashoggi’s apparent killing and indicated he trusted them.
White House aides have suggested that while Trump is reluctant to criticize certain world leaders publicly, he has been willing to deliver tough messages behind closed doors.