Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday he had ordered a review of procedures for vetting foreign nationals and security on military installations, and White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said Sunday that the shooting “appears to be a terrorist attack.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), both staunch allies of the president, have had tough words for the kingdom in the aftermath of the shooting. DeSantis said Friday he told Trump that the Saudi government is “going to owe a debt here given that this was one of their individuals,” and Gaetz asserted Sunday that the attack should “inform our ongoing relationship with Saudi Arabia.”
Trump’s weekend phone call could further escalate tensions and result in greater scrutiny of the White House’s diplomatic response to the violence, considering the international scorn the crown prince has faced for the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi last October.
Although the Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that the crown prince ordered the assassination, Democratic lawmakers have criticized the president for his reluctance to explicitly condemn the royal and place blame on the kingdom.