The Guardian | David Shariatmadari: The US president once demanded 10 years’ worth of free oil from the Saudis. But after an emollient speech in Riyadh, all that was forgotten
If there’s anything consistent about the Trump White House so far, it’s that people get appointed to positions for which they are totally unsuited. More than that: they’re frequently the worst possible candidates for the role. That starts with the president himself, of course – less presidential than your average radio phone-in ranter. It was evident in the appointment of Michael Flynn, a man allegedly in hock to the Russian state, as national security adviser; of multiple Goldman Sachs alumni to oversee financial regulation; and of Jeff Sessions, who regards the film Reefer Madness as accurate social commentary, as the top law-enforcement official in the land.
In the latest example, the Sessions acolyte Stephen Miller, one of the architects of Trump’s attempted Muslim ban, has been put in charge of winning over the Arab Muslim world. Miller was the principal author of a speech, delivered in Riyadh yesterday, in which the president said he wanted to “deliver a message of friendship and hope and love”. He went on to argue that the fight against terrorism was “a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and … people who want to protect life and their religion”. Trump even shied away from the phrase he blasted Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for avoiding: “radical Islamic terrorism”.
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