(August 13, 2019 / JNS) DAVENPORT, Iowa—In a campaign speech on Monday themed "The America We Believe In," which primarily focused on domestic policy, the health-insurance system and equal pay for women, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) briefly slammed U.S. President Donald Trump for siding with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the American intelligence community regarding the October 2018 alleged assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey.
"On the subject of a journalist who was assassinated ... a journalist who had American credentials, [Trump] prefers to take the word of a Saudi prince over the word of the American intelligence community," said Harris in front of the crowd at the RiverCenter Adler Theatre in Davenport. "We need a new commander-in-chief."
Middle East Forum president Daniel Pipes told JNS that while Trump "does indeed have issue with the quality and honesty of U.S. intelligence agencies, [that] is not the issue with regard to the Khashoggi murder."
"In that case, Trump did not wish to draw the political implications of the agencies' conclusion that Mohammed bin Salman stood behind the murder," he continued. "So, in his characteristic way, he simply brushed this aside."
Senior fellow at the Security Studies Group Matthew Brodsky told JNS that Harris's remark reflected a bigger trend in her party.
"Whether wittingly or unwittingly, presidential candidates on the left side of the aisle seem to be missing the larger picture of how the Khashoggi affair fits in the context of larger U.S. objectives in the Middle East," he said. "Those who wish to jump back in the saddle with Iran by embracing the [2015 Iran nuclear deal] are also drinking Qatar's Kool-Aid and turn a blind eye to their promotion of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas."
"Qatar is increasingly a member of Iran's coalition, as is Turkey. Khashoggi shouldn't have been killed," continued Brodsky. "He was, however, a Muslim Brotherhood supporter paid by Qatar, masquerading as a reformer."
Harris's speech also consisted of calling for an assault-weapons ban similar to the one enacted in 1994, universal background checks for guns, better pay for teachers, and repealing the 2017 Republican tax reform and tax cuts.