Andrea Mitchell is not taking the U.S. or Saudi Arabia at their word after the two camps tried to claim Monday that King Salman’s absence from the upcoming summit of Arab states at Camp David is not a snub.
Appearing on “Morning Joe” Tuesday, Mitchell told co-host Joe Scarborough that the Saudis’ snub is “so in your face,” especially after their foreign minister told Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday that Salman was indeed coming. Mitchell added that she doesn’t see “any way” the White House “can spin it.”
“We’ve heard an awful lot about the health of some leaders and the Saudi leaders being pinned down by what is happening in their own countries, but this is fairly unprecedented…four of six countries not bringing their leaders to Camp David,” Scarborough told Mitchell. “Fairly unprecedented. Are we entering a new phase in U.S./Saudi relations?”
“I think we actually entered it with the decision not to go against Assad in Syria over chemical weapons once that red line that the president himself had imposed on Labor Day a couple of years ago and to let that war go unanswered really by any kind of American initiative since then,” Mitchell said. “So I think that was the first step.”
“Then Iran. Here you’ve got Iran very aggressively in Yemen against the Saudis,” Mitchell told the host. “The Saudis engaged in a shooting war there, and they believe that…with the lifting of the sanctions, Iran will have so much more disposable income for their foreign policy misadventures, if you will, from the Saudi perspective, from the perspective of those others in the region.”
“What I think is so extraordinary here is that they confirmed to John Kerry that he was coming. And then the foreign minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, whom we all know from his years and years here as the ambassador and before that as a national security adviser to former King Abdullah — he was with John Kerry in Paris on Friday saying that the king was coming,” Mitchell argued. “So this snub is so in your face to not only not come, to say you’re coming and then not come, but to have reconfirmed at the highest levels. It’s embarrassing to Kerry. It’s embarrassing to the White House. And I don’t see any way that they can spin it.”