Biden Will ‘Re-Evaluate’ Relationship With Saudi Arabia After Kingdom Slashed Oil Output, John Kirby Says

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Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden will “re-evaluate” the relationship with Saudi Arabia due to the Kingdom announcing it will be reducing oil output despite the president’s pleas, a White House official said Tuesday.

“I think the president’s been very clear that this is a relationship that we need to continue to re-evaluate, that we need to be willing to revisit,” John Kirby, the White House coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“Certainly in light of the OPEC decision, I think that’s where he is,” Kirby added.

Saudi Arabia, along with other OPEC+ countries, announced Wednesday they would be scaling back oil output by 2 million barrels per day. White House officials were “panicking” over the potential decision, as oil reductions may mean higher gas prices weeks before the midterms, CNN reported. (RELATED: OPEC Ignores Biden’s Pleas, Decides To Cut Oil Production)

Biden told reporters Thursday that Saudi Arabia’s decision was a “disappointment,” and Democratic lawmakers have drafted legislation calling for the U.S. to retaliate by ending arms assistance to the Kingdom.

Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin has also said Saudi Arabia wants Russia to win the war on Ukraine, and that “it’s Putin and Saudi Arabia against the United States.”

Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia in July in an attempt to dissuade the OPEC member from cutting oil production amid skyrocketing gas prices, despite promising to make the country a “pariah” on the world stage after the killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. Although he met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Biden failed to secure immediate promises from Saudi Arabia of increasing oil production.

TOPSHOT – US President Joe Biden boards Air Force One before departing from King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi city of Jeddah on July 16, 2022, at the end of his first tour in the Middle East as president. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

“The president’s obviously disappointed by the OPEC decision and is going to be willing to work with Congress as we think about what the right relationship with Saudi Arabia needs to be going forward,” Kirby continued, adding the conversation about Saudi Arabia has to happen soon.

“I think the timeline’s now, and I think he’s going to be willing to start to have those conversations right away,” Kirby said. “I don’t think this is anything that’s going to have to wait or should wait, quite frankly, for much longer.”