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Bernie Sanders rebukes Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, says the US shouldn’t ‘be maintaining a warm relationship with a dictatorship’

Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, at the White House.

Susan Walsh/AP

  • President Joe Biden met with the Saudi Crown Prince on a visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday. 
  • On Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders rebuked the president’s visit to the Kingdom. 
  • Sanders said the US should not have a “warm relationship” with a dictatorship.  

Sen. Bernie Sanders said President Joe Biden should not have visited Saudi Arabia. 

“I just don’t believe that we should be maintaining a warm relationship with a dictatorship like that,” Sanders told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz on Sunday. 

Sanders said he did not think a country whose leader ordered the killing of a Washington Post journalist should be “rewarded with a visit” from the US president. 

Sanders was referring to the 2018 murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

—ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) July 17, 2022

Raddatz asked Sanders whether it made a difference that the discussions were about oil. One purpose of Biden’s visit was to encourage greater oil production in the hope of reducing prices in the US, a goal that he appeared to meet.

“President Biden said that Saudi would take action in the coming weeks. Could that make a difference and could that explain why he went? What would you have done?” Raddatz asked Sanders.

Sanders replied: “I’m sure that is why he went but the truth of the matter is if you’re looking at the outrageously high cost of gas at the pumps right now, one of the things we’ve got to look at is the fact that while Americans are now paying $4.50, $4.80 for a gallon of gas, the oil companies profits in the last quarter have been extraordinarily high.”

He added that he believes “we got to tell the oil companies to stop ripping off the American people,” or tax them if they don’t. 

Raddatz followed up by asking Sanders: “Would you just ignore the Saudis if you were president?”

Sanders replied: “Look, you’ve got a family that is worth $100 billion which questions democracy, which treats women as third class citizens, which murders and imprisons its opponents,” Sanders respond.

“And if this country believes in anything, we believe in human rights, we believe in democracy, and I just don’t believe that we should be maintaining a warm relationship with a dictatorship like that.” 

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