Readers React: Trump’s amoral, transactional style of leadership is on full display in his support for the Saudi crown prince

Donald Trump
President Trump speaks during a meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington on Nov. 15.
(Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)

To the editor: President Trump’s statement expressing support for Saudi Arabia and its crown prince, whom the CIA concluded ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, reveals his character.

At first Trump said we did not even know if Khashoggi was dead. After that was established, he said we really did not know how he died. After it was conclusively proved that Khashoggi was murdered, he said the Saudi crown prince had personally assured him that he was not involved and knew nothing about it.

Trump, just as he has with other autocrats, accepted his word as truth.

Now our own CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing. But the truth does not seem to matter to Trump, especially when it is an inconvenient truth.


Trump views Saudi Arabia as the linchpin of his Middle Eastern policy and praises it for buying hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons from the United States. To Trump, Khashoggi is simply acceptable collateral damage.

The president will not let a little matter like right and wrong stand in the way of what he wants to do. This is an inconvenient truth about Trump that we all should accept.

Ken Derow, Swarthmore, Pa.

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