In a bipartisan effort, the Senate has rebuked “President” Trump by voting to block Trump’s sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (among others). According to the New York Times, the Senate wanted to send a message to the Trump administration that they will not be bypassed in a move they see as Trump trying to cut them out of national security decisions. Many of the lawmakers are also outraged at Trump’s continuing support of whom they see as a murderer, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
As reported by Aljazeera, the United Nations has found credible evidence that bin Salman is in fact responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. They have audio recordings from Turkish intelligence of the killers discussing how they planned to dismember and transport “the sacrificial animal,” referring to Khashoggi. Agnes Callamard, who is serving as UN special investigator, believes that high-level Saudi officials, including bin Salman, are directly involved. This information, along with long-held beliefs of bin Salman’s guilt by many, make selling arms to these countries unconscionable, even for Trump-supporting senators and congressmen.
Lindsey Graham, who usually stands with Trump, voted to block the sale. During the Senate deliberations, Graham said: “There is no amount of oil you can produce that will get me and others to give you a pass on chopping somebody up in a consulate.” Even Graham can’t stomach this behavior, though Mitch McConnell seems perfectly okay with it, stating that the Senate would consider “whether we’ll lash out at an imperfect partner and undercut our own efforts to build cooperation.” Really, McConnell? The man obviously has no soul, even less of one than Graham.
Other members of the House, however, are concerned about yet another power grab by Donald Trump, who apparently not only thinks himself above the law but also above the checks and balances established by the Constitution. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said it best: “This vote is a vote for the powers of this institution to be able to continue to have a say on one of the most critical elements of U.S. foreign policy and national security.” As they should. No one man can have unilateral power under our Constitution, and the House and Senate agree, regardless of political party.
While they likely won’t have enough votes to override Trump’s impending veto, at least some of our representatives had the guts to stand up for what’s right. Trump also seems to have forgotten that the vast majority of the 9/11 actors were from Saudi Arabia (15 of the 19) and the United Arab Emirates (2). These are not allies of the U.S. Instead, Trump is alienating our real allies while cozying up to murderers. Given Kushner’s close relationship with bin Salman, including the bailout of his failing building, this move is more likely a favor between business partners, again, to the detriment of the United States and its citizens. While he is using Iran as his excuse, just like everything else he does, he created that problem as well. His solution? Create even more problems.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years