October 16, 2018

CNN's New Day did a John Avlon "reality check" segment on Trump's alleged Saudi arms deal.

"So President Trump admits that he is reluctant to punish Saudi Arabia because he does not want to put an arms deal at risk. So how lucrative is that arms deal?" John Berman asked.

"Let's dig into it," Avlon said. "First of all, this is not a freedom agenda administration. In President Trump's muddled and money-driven response to the apparent killing of Jamal Khashoggi. he said this.

TRUMP: I don't like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States because you know what they're going to do? They're going to take that money and spend it in Russia or China or someplace else.

"Forget the cost-benefit analysis he's doing with a man's life. The number alone is worth scrutiny. It was $380 billion. The military component under $10 billion. There are mostly memorandums of intent. Six items made it to Congress adding up to $28 billion. All but one predated the administration. That number drops to $14 billion. Even if these promises convert to cold, hard cash, it is projected far into the future. It would take decades for the Saudis to transition their hardware.

"The relationship with the Saudi royals. The U.S.- Saudi alliance stretches back decades, even when their policies run counter to U.S. policies and interests. His first foreign trip was to Saudi Arabia and they rolled out the red carpet. Trump returned the favor, telling the Saudis he would take a more hands-on approach,

TRUMP: We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be.

"Behold the Trump doctrine, folks," Avlon said. "It seemed like dictators have a big green light. Do business with the U.S. and you can do what you want with human rights. We don't even have an ambassador. Trump outsourced it to his son-in-law. The Saudis spent more than a quarter million dollars and counting at the Trump hotel in Washington, and Trump hotels ins . So what Trump said, it certainly seemed like he was trying to give the crown prince an out and all the more embarrassing because the Saudis seemed ready to admit the journalist was killed in an interrogation gone wrong. It is worth asking why a hugely inflated Saudi arms deal is worth selling out America's moral authority."

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