Senator Rand Paul has warned President Trump that a more severe response is required to the murder of reporter Jamal Khashoggi, otherwise the Saudi regime will view the US as weak.
In an interview with CBS Sunday, Paul noted that sanctions are not strong enough.
“We need to punish who ordered this, who’s in charge, and really the only thing they understand over there is strength,” Paul urged.
“I think they will see sanctions as weakness on the part of the president and if the president wants to act strongly he should cut off the arms sale.” the Senator continued.
“The thing about sanctions is that I think sanctions are pretending to do something without really doing anything,” Paul said on Face the Nation.
Trump has opted to place sanctions against 17 Saudi Arabian individuals thought to be involved in the plot to kill Khashoggi.
Paul, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted that “Most of these people are in prison” already.
“The crown prince runs the country and we deal with him. If we put sanctions on people who are in prison. Are we really doing anything to punish them? They’re already in prison.” Paul exclaimed.
Referring to the CIA’s indication that it believes the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing, Paul said “I think the evidence is overwhelming that the crown prince was involved, so no, I don’t think we can sweep this under the rug.”
Paul added that “the Saudis have been duplicitous since the very beginning. Do we need to do more? Yes, but at the very least we need to quit selling arms to people who are lying to us.”
President Trump said Sunday that there will be a government report released on Tuesday assessing impact of the killing and options for the US response.
Trump said that he refused to listen to an audio tape of the murder of the Saudi dissident reporter, noting that the killing was “vicious”.
“I don’t want to hear the tape, no reason for me to hear the tape.” Trump told Fox News host Chris Wallace.