A top Republican senator has warned US President Donald Trump that the behavior by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “cannot be ignored,” as a bill is introduced to block US arms sales to the kingdom and the UAE.
Senator Lindsey Graham, who is a close ally of the president, made the comment in a statement on Wednesday, Politico reported.
“Now is not the time to do business as usual with Saudi Arabia,” Graham said in a statement. “I am also very concerned about the precedent these arms sales would set by having the administration go around legitimate concerns of the Congress. I expect and look forward to strong bipartisan support for these resolutions of disapproval.”
A bipartisan group of senators, including Graham, introduced resolutions of disapproval in an effort to prevent the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia from getting US arms for now.
Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to allow Congress to review the sales, after the US top diplomat asserted that the Trump administration would go ahead with the arms sales despite the Saudi’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi and its war on Yemen.
Menendez, one of the co-sponsors of the bill, warned that he is even “prepared to move forward with any and all options to nullify the licenses at issue for both Saudi Arabia and UAE and eliminate any ability for the administration to bypass Congress in future arms sales.”
Republican Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Todd Young of Indiana as well as Democratic Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Jack Reed of Rhode Island are among other co-sponsors of the bill.
Despite the heinous murder and dismembering of the Washington Post journalist, which the CIA believes was directed by MBS, Trump bypassed Congress last month to sell even more arms to Saudi Arabia.
Trump has also disregarded the CIA’s assessment about the role the Saudi de facto ruler played in the murder at the Saudi consulate.
Khashoggi was killed and his body was dismembered by a Saudi hit squad after being lured into the consulate on October 2, 2018.
The Trump administration has remained a staunch supporter of Riyadh even as a humanitarian crisis is underway in Yemen, under aggression from the neighboring kingdom.
The US Senate passed a bipartisan resolution earlier this year to end US Support for the Saudi war on impoverished Yemen.