Biden’s Anticipated Handshake With MBS Turns Into A Fist Bump … And Still The Media Is Big Mad


Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
Font Size:

President Joe Biden’s fist bump with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received backlash Friday from media figures and lawmakers, deeming it “shameful.”

The president arrived on his scheduled trip to Saudi Arabia to meet with Salman, where the two leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of issues, including “regional economic and security cooperation,” threats from Iran, human rights and food security and global energy.

The administration declassified information in 2021 blaming the crown prince for approving the capture and murder of journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist killed by Saudi officials in 2018. The president shook hands with nearly every person who greeted him at the Al Salam Royal Palace except the crown prince, instead giving him a fist bump.

Washington Post publisher and CEO Fred Ryan called the exchange “shameful,” accusing it as representing a “level of intimacy” with the crown prince.

“The fist bump between President Biden and Mohammed bin Salman was worse than a handshake—it was shameful,” Ryan said in a statement. “It projectrd a level of intimacy and comfort that delivers to MBS the unwarranted redemption he has been desperately seeking.”

Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff also criticized the bump’s symbolism of the relationship between the U.S. and the “grip oil-rich autocrats” in Middle Eastern countries. (RELATED: Biden Touts Saudi Arabia Opening Airspace For Israel As Step Toward Normalizing Relations)

“If we ever needed a visual reminder of the continuing grip oil-rich autocrats have on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, we got it today,” Schiff said. “One fist bump is worth a thousand words.”

The president laughed at a reporter’s question requesting him to respond to criticism of the fist bump.

“You’ve come under a lot of fire for your fist bump with the crown prince,” a reporter said, prompting the president to laugh. “I just want to give you a chance to respond to that.”

The reporter then asked if he can be sure another journalist would not be killed by Saudi officials.

“God love you, what a silly question,” Biden said. “How could I possibly be sure of any of that?”