Without a doubt, the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia is fairly controversial. Considered a key Middle Eastern ally, many Americans take issue with what they feel is too cozy of a relationship with a country ruled by a strict theocratic monarch with an abysmal record when it comes to freedom and human rights. This a country where women still can’t drive, vote, or go out in public without being fully covered. Saudi Arabia is also notoriously brutal when it comes to punishing people who break their laws, including executions via public beheading.
Yes, that’s still a “thing” in 2017.
Needless to say, the topic of United States/Saudi Arabia relations is extremely complex. That being said, you don’t need to be a Middle Eastern expert to understand that Saudi Arabia has a rather no-nonsense policy when it comes to the laws of the land as well as the swift and brutal punishments that serve as deterrents for anyone who’d dare violate them.
Well, Donald Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross apparently didn’t “get that memo.”
Inexplicably, it seems Ross’ knowledge of Saudi Arabia is about as “vast” as — someone who’s never heard of the country, at all. During an interview with CNBC Monday morning, Ross boasted about the lack of protests in Saudi Arabia upon Trump’s arrival to the kingdom.
“There was not a single hint of a protester anywhere during the whole time we were there,” Ross said. “Not one guy with a bad placard.”
After the CNBC host pointed out that Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow for any sort of public protests like we allow in the United States, instead of correcting what might have been brushed off as a gaffe, Ross proceeded to further prove that he doesn’t know what the heck he’s talking about.
“In theory that could be true,” Ross replied. “But there was not a single sign that there was any effort at incursion, there wasn’t anything”
Yeah — because there’s no way for Saudi Arabians to safely and legally show that effort.
My favorite part of this ignorance is when he said “in theory that could be true,” as if it’s a subjective argument to point out that public displays of dissent, especially those that could embarrass the royal family, aren’t allowed in Saudi Arabia. If a Saudi Arabian blogger was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam, could you imagine what would happen to anyone who would have tried to protest Trump’s visit? I think it’s safe to assume that if the punishment for such behavior isn’t death, then anyone who would have dared try to protest Trump’s visit, and been arrested for doing so, would have probably wished it had been.
You can add this ridiculous comment to the ever-growing list of examples where Donald Trump and people within his administration constantly prove that we’re being led by the most incompetent and inept grouping of clowns in our nation’s history.
Watch his comments below via CNBC (the comments about lack of protests start at 5:55):