President Trump said Thursday he does not favor stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the suspected murder of a Saudi journalist who has been critical of the government.
“They’re spending $110 billion on military equipment,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “I don’t like stopping the investment. They’re going to take that money and spend it on Russia or China. What good does that do us?”
The U.S. is investigating the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who disappeared after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, for a meeting.
Mr. Trump said of the Saudi journalist’s suspected murder, “We’re taking it very seriously. Something like that should not be allowed to happen.”
But he said there are “certainly other ways of handling this situation” besides stopping arm sales, if Saudi Arabia’s government is implicated in Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance.
“That doesn’t help us, not when it comes to jobs. There are other things we can do. We’re looking for the answer,” he said. “What happened is a terrible thing, assuming that happened. Maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised, but somehow I doubt it.”