Hagerty Questions Biden Nominee on Administration’s Saudi Arabia Policy

June 16, 2022

Tells President’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia that the Kingdom “can be a very critical partner” despite President’s insult that it has “very little social redeeming value”

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, today asked Michael Ratney, nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, about the Biden Administration’s policy toward the Kingdom ahead of Biden’s planned visit in July.

“I understand that President Biden is on his way to Saudi Arabia next month, presumably to ask the Saudis to produce more oil and bail the United States out of this energy disaster that the Biden Administration has created based on its war on the American fossil fuel industry,” Hagerty said. “This trip comes not long after President Biden, during his presidential campaign in a Democrat presidential debate, decided that he would turn Saudi Arabia into a ‘pariah,’ and he added that there is ‘very little social redeeming value in the present government in Saudi Arabia’—those are his words during the presidential debate.”

“I actually believe that the Saudis can be a very critical partner to us in the Middle East,” Hagerty told Ratney. “And I’d first like to know if you agree with President Biden’s stated posture towards Saudi Arabia.”

Mr. Ratney agreed with Hagerty that the relationship should not be antagonistic given shared U.S.-Saudi interests, including energy markets, the ongoing war in Yemen, counterterrorism, and Iranian nuclear, missile and terror threats, but he refused to condemn President Biden’s prior remarks.

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