President Donald Trump on Tuesday ridiculed the kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s response to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as “one of the worst cover-ups” in history.
Trump added that he was revoking visas of Saudis involved in the murder of the journalist.
The move came as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Khashoggi‘s killing inside the Saudis’ Istanbul consulate had been meticulously planned, in a speech that overshadowed a long-planned investment forum in Riyadh.
Trump said the Saudis had a “very bad original concept” in killing the 59-year-old Saudi insider-turned-critic.
“It was carried out poorly and the cover-up was one of the worst in the history of cover-ups.
“It was a total fiasco,” he later added. “I’m saying they should have never thought about it. Once they thought about it, everything else they did was bad too … It should have never happened,” Trump said.
Faced with mounting calls for tough measures by US lawmakers across the political spectrum, the State Department said it had identified 21 Saudis whose visas would either be revoked or who would be ineligible for future visas.
“These penalties will not be the last word on this matter from the United States.
“We are making very clear that the United States does not tolerate this kind of action to silence Khashoggi, a journalist, through violence,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters.