President Donald Trump said Friday that Saudi Arabia’s government has taken a “great first step” in arresting people in the murder of a dissident Saudi journalist but he does not want to endanger the American alliance with the key Middle East ally.
“It’s not the simplest situation to be in,” Trump told reporters during a briefing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
Speaking little more than three hours after Saudi authorities claimed that Jamal Khashoggi died during a “brawl” inside their consulate in Istanbul, Trump said he found their explanation credible, though more investigation is needed and he needs to learn more about the murder.
“Saudi Arabia has been a great ally, but what happened is unacceptable,” Trump said.
Later, Trump did not mention the murder of Khashoggi during a congressional campaign rally in Mesa, Ariz.