Image: Getty

Proving that he still has the capacity to shock and that there is no depth to the shame that one feels simply by virtue of being an American these days, on Tuesday, Donald Trump issued a truly vile statement on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in which he defended the rulers of Saudi Arabia, despite damning evidence suggesting that the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered that Khashoggi be killed.

The statement begins with the sentence, “The world is a very dangerous place!” before railing against Iran. Trump then lauds the leaders of Saudi Arabia for their commitment “to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States”:

This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!

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He then acknowledges that “the crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one” and “one that our country does not condone,” despite the fact that the statement does precisely that.

The president of the United States then goes on to smear Khashoggi, blithely describing him as an “enemy of the people:”

Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!

That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!

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Our president is perfectly happy with smearing the name of a murdered journalist in the interest of maintaining lucrative weapons contracts.