State Department Official Stumped by Question About Saudi Democracy

StoryfulNewsPublished: May 31, 20173 views
Published: May 31, 2017

A State Department official appeared stumped during a May 30 <a href="https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/05/271445.htm" target="_blank">press conference</a> when asked a question on how the White House could criticize Iranian elections, yet never the “commitment to democracy,” or lack thereof, of Saudi Arabia.

Acting Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Stuart Jones paused for about 19 seconds to compose an answer to the question, from <span class="caps">AFP</span> journalist Dave Clark.

Clark asked Jones, who accompanied US President Donald Trump on part of his Middle East trip: “While you were over there the Secretary criticized the conduct of the Iranian elections and Iran’s record on democracy. He did so standing next to Saudi officials. How do you characterize Saudi Arabia’s commitment to democracy, and does the administration believe that democracy is a buffer or a barrier against extremism?”

Jones did not address the question directly, but said, “We were able to make significant progress with Saudi and <span class="caps">GCC</span> [Gulf Cooperation Council] partners in both making a strong statement against extremism and also – and also putting in place certain measures through this <span class="caps">GCC</span> mechanism where we can combat extremism.”

Writing later on Twitter Clark said, “I thought his silence very eloquent.”

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