May 21, 2017 at 10:18 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Trump delivers speech in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, gay news, Washington Blade

(Image by NormanEinstein; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

President Trump on Sunday in a speech that he delivered in Saudi Arabia made no mention that consensual same-sex sexual relations remain punishable by death in the kingdom.

Trump made a broad reference to the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., which a U.S.-born man who pledged his allegiance to the so-called Islamic State carried out in June 2016.

There is no evidence to suggest ISIS — which has publicly executed men in Syria and Iraq who were accused of committing sodomy — prompted the gunman to carry out the massacre at the gay nightclub that left 49 people dead and 53 others injured.

Trump in the days after the Pulse nightclub massacre reiterated his call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

An executive order Trump signed earlier this year that, among other things, banned citizens of seven-predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days did not include Saudi Arabia. Federal courts blocked a revised executive order that Trump issued in March.

“America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens,” said Trump in his speech that he delivered in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. “We are not here to lecture — we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership — based on shared interests and values — to pursue a better future for us all.”

Trump also said Muslim nations “must be willing to take on the burden” of combating what he described as “Islamic extremism.” He made no mention of the two executive orders that sparked widespread outrage in the U.S. and around the world.

“Young Muslim boys and girls should be able to grow up free from fear, safe from violence, and innocent of hatred,” said Trump. “And young Muslim men and women should have the chance to build a new era of prosperity for themselves and their peoples.”

Obama traveled to Saudi Arabia four times

Trump in his speech noted his administration on Saturday signed an agreement that he said will invest nearly $400 billion “in our two countries and create many thousands of jobs in America and Saudi Arabia.” He also pointed out the agreement includes $110 billion for a “Saudi-funded defense purchase.”

“This agreement will help the Saudi military to take a greater role in security operations,” said Trump.

Former President Obama traveled to Saudi Arabia four times during his presidency.

The State Department faced questions from advocates during the Obama administration about whether then-Secretary of State John Kerry and other officials raised LGBT-specific issues with their Saudi counterparts. Trump in his campaign against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last year repeatedly pointed out the Clinton Foundation received up to $25 million from Saudi Arabia.

Kellyanne Conway, who was Trump’s campaign manager, in October 2016 incorrectly told Chuck Todd of NBC’s “Meet the Press” that ISIS made contributions to the Clinton Foundation.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

1 Comment
  • Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists came from Saudi Arabia. The country murders GLBT and oppresses woman yet despite Trump saying he’d protect us from murder, he does deals with a country that codifies the practice. He condemns Hillary for getting money from this country yet thinks it’s perfectly fine for him to do deals with it. This country wasn’t part of his ban either.

    It’s all just another example of the lies and hypocrisy of the Trump administration! The ban he proposes is just smoke an mirrors and a means to dupe his gullible supporters into believing he’s actually doing something!

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