Intel: Saudi king calls Trump after Florida shooting

al-monitor Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud (C) welcomes US President Donald Trump (L) and first lady Melania Trump (R) to a tea ceremony in the Royal Terminal after they arrived aboard Air Force One at King Khalid Airport International in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017.  Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.
Jack Detsch

Jack Detsch

@JackDetsch_ALM

Topics covered

donald trump, terror attacks, salman bin abdul-aziz al saud, shoot, us-saudi relations, jamal khashoggi

Dec 6, 2019

Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud called US President Donald Trump on Friday to “express his sincere condolences and give his sympathies” after a now-deceased Saudi aviation student killed three and injured eight in a shooting at a Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fl.

Trump tweet: “The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people.”

Why it matters: Though Trump and top administration officials such as the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner have kept up close ties with Saudi Arabia, the incident will provide another flash point for members of Congress and 2020 Democratic contenders angered over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fl., who represents the district where the shooting occurred, said the incident was “an act of terrorism, not an act of workplace violence,” in comments to a local television station. Both the House and the Senate are also moving to finish up talks on the annual US defense authorization bill, where talks have included a back-and-forth over curbing Saudi Arabia’s role in Yemen.

Another incident: US officials suspect Riyadh helped a Saudi student accused of causing a fatal hit-and-run in Oregon obtain an illegal passport to flee the country last year.

What’s next: Authorities are still probing whether the incident was terror-related, and what the shooter’s motive may have been.

Know more: Read about how Congress has sought to keep pressure on Saudi Arabia more than a year after Khashoggi’s killing.