When President Donald J. Trump chose Saudi Arabia for his first overseas trip in 2017, the Saudis were so delighted that he turned his visit into a pro-American celebration.
They projected a giant American and Saudi flag in front of a luxury hotel. They put Mr. Trump in the palace. The American flag was hung on a streetlight pole along a highway strip.
Mr. Biden visited the kingdom on Friday night for the first time after nearly two years in office, especially as he vowed to treat Saudi Arabia as a “paria” of human rights abuses during the campaign. I’m not happy. Hurts the feelings of a longtime American partner.
As president, Mr. Biden continues to criticize the kingdom’s human rights records, fueling tensions with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. The killing of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 by a Saudi agent is a notable issue.
Saudi Arabia has also become skeptical of the government’s commitment to security, especially from the attacks launched by Iran and its agents in Yemen. That sentiment contributed to their decision not to immediately participate in Washington’s efforts to isolate Russia after the invasion of Ukraine and increase oil production to lower oil prices.
None of those issues clouded Mr. Trump’s visit. From the beginning, the Saudis fully embraced him and wanted to have a warmer relationship with him than President Barack Obama. They extended his visit to summits of Islamic countries attended by heads of state and other senior officials from dozens of countries.
The transformation of the capital, Riyadh, showed Saudi Arabia’s love for American culture. The Harley-Davidson Club in Saudi Arabia held a non-drinking biker rally. Country singer Toby Keith played for the complete home of Saudi Arabian fans. They are all men.
Perhaps the most famous image of the trip came from a visit to the center to counter radicalism. There, Mr. Trump, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and Abdel Fatta Elsisi of Egypt placed their hands on the shining sphere. The photos at that moment created a lot of memes.
The visit ended with Mr. Trump and other senior officials joining King Salman and his remaining hosts in Saudi Arabia. With traditional sword dance..
The generous attention paid to Mr. Trump laid the foundation for the cozy bond that the Saudis were looking for. This is an investment that has been rewarded to the Kingdom through President Trump’s presidency.
When Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab neighbors imposed a blockade on Qatar, Mr. Trump first praised the move, but later he worked to end the rift. He lifted restrictions on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, despite long records of civilian killings in the bombing of Saudi Arabia in Yemen. And Mr. Trump became Prince Mohammed’s most ardent defender in Washington after Khashoggi’s murder, and the sale of weapons to the kingdom gave Americans a job that should not be endangered for human rights. Insisted.
Prince Mohammed also approached Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, contacted him directly via WhatsApp, and sometimes met him away from the State Department’s memorandum, the government. Left the other branch in the dark about what they talked about.
Regarding that relationship, it seems that he paid a dividend to Mr. Kushner this time. Six months after leaving the White House, he secured a $ 2 billion investment from Saudi Arabia for a new private equity fund.