Multiple members the Trump administration have praised Saudi Arabia for its close cooperation with the United States on counterterrorism and regional security.
In February 2017, CIA Director Mike Pompeo traveled to Saudi Arabia to honor Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif, Minister of Interior, with the George Tenet Award for his efforts in leading Saudi counterterrorism efforts. Upon receiving the award, the Crown Prince stated, “We, God willing, continue to confront terrorism and extremism everywhere, and with thanks to God we have managed to thwart many terrorist plots. We are surrounded by areas of conflict, and we were the first [nation] affected by terrorism from various sources, but we are equipped to combat terror in any place and under any circumstances.”
On a recent trip to Riyadh, Secretary of Defense James Mattis noted the Kingdom’s efforts to promote security and stability in the region. “From assisting the refugees who are being thrown out of Syria by the fighting there, supporting Jordan in taking care of those refugees; the energy supplies and other support they are giving to Egypt as they work through some really tough financial times … It’s very clear that Saudi Arabia is stepping up to its regional leadership role out here right now at a key time in terms of trying to restore stability in this key region of the world.”
During Congressional testimony about the vetting of travelers, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly praised the vetting process done by Saudi Arabia. “Places like Saudi Arabia do have very, very good police forces, intelligence forces, so we know when someone comes from Saudi Arabia who they are and what they’ve been up to,” Kelly said.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also praised the trade and economic benefits of the U.S-Saudi bilateral relationship. “We have a long relationship with Saudi Arabia that goes back over 80 years, and our support for a strong and steady partner on economic cooperating remains firm,” said Tillerson in remarks at the U.S.-Saudi Arabia CEO Summit. “When U.S. companies invest in the Saudi economy, everyone wins. The U.S. creates jobs at home, and businesses in the Gulf region get the best business partners that the global marketplace has to offer.”
On Fox News Channel, former New York Mayor and longtime Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani noted the progress Saudi Arabia has made on societal reform and counterterrorism cooperation. “Saudi Arabia is going through a massive change,” said Giuliani. “I think the Kingdom, particularly under the new prince, has a real understanding that we’re dealing with a massive radical Islamist terrorist problem. It is not the old Saudi Arabia. This isn’t the Saudi Arabia of 2000, 2001, 2002. President Trump is dealing with a very different Saudi Arabia than President Obama was dealing with.”