Following the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, televangelist Pat Robertson dismissed concerns about the government of Saudi Arabia’s role in the killing, saying that Saudi Arabia was a key bulwark against Iran in the Middle East and warning American leaders not to jeopardize a multi-billion dollar arms deal with them just because of one measly murder:
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
“We’ve had so many people killed,” Robertson argued. “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.”
After being widely criticized and mocked for this position, Robertson eventually relented, and now claims to be vehemently opposed to President Trump’s efforts to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, staking out a position that is diametrically opposed to the one he originally spouted eight months ago.
“That is a big mistake,” Robertson said on “The 700 Club” today. “Those people have killed Khashoggi and have instituted a reign of terror in their own country … [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] clearly was implicated in the murder of Khashoggi. He is not a good guy, and I know the president was warmly received when he went to Saudi Arabia and he figures they’re our friends, but so help me, we shouldn’t be arming those people. I know we need a bulwark against Iranian expansion, but the way to get it is not by backing a vicious dictator. And that is what he is, a vicious dictator who didn’t hesitate to reach out beyond the borders of Saudi Arabia and have somebody murdered. We cannot support people like that.”