Yesterday, on “The 700 Club,” televangelist Pat Robertson weighed in on the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was reportedly murdered after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, telling his audience not to get too worked up over the murder of one journalist when there is a multi-billion dollar arms deal to focus on:
Pat Robertson responds to reports that the Saudis murdered a journalist by telling everyone to calm down and focus on the important things, like the lucrative arms deal we have with them. pic.twitter.com/06b7s3R6Xe
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) October 15, 2018
Robertson returned to the topic on his program again today and delivered essentially the same message.
“We’ve got to cool the rhetoric,” Robertson said. “Calls for sanctions and calls for punitive actions against the Saudis is ill-advised … You’ve got a hundred billion dollars worth of arms sales—which is, you know, that’s one of those things—but more than that, we’ve got to have some Arab allies. We have to have it! We cannot alienate a biggest player in the Middle East who is a bulwark against Iran.”
When Robertson’s co-host Wendy Griffith argued that we cannot have governments killing critical journalists with impunity, Robertson dismissed those concerns.
“We’ve had so many people killed,” he responded. “We’ve had CIA people killed in Lebanon. People have been taken hostage over the years. I know it’s bad, but we’ve had all kinds of stuff, but you don’t blow up an international alliance over one person. I mean, I’m sorry.”
It will probably surprise nobody to know that Robertson had a somewhat different take on things when American Christian pastor Andrew Brunson was imprisoned for allegedly helping to plot the overthrow of the Turkish government.
In that case, Robertson repeatedly called on the U.S. to “get tough” with Turkey by imposing crippling sanctions that would “bring it to its knees.”
“A lot of the time you say, ‘Well, it’s terrible. Isn’t that awful? We deplore his actions’ and you go through all that rhetoric and it doesn’t move the needle one iota,” Robertson said back in April. “But then you start laying sanctions on them and you start taking away trade benefits and you start putting some of their rich people in jail and the next thing you know, they say, ‘Okay, we’ll behave.'”