Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said the United States will lose its credibility on human rights if it does not take action against Saudi Arabia after the apparent death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“I don’t care how much money it is,” Rubio said in an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day” Tuesday. “There isn’t enough money in the world to purchase back our credibility on human rights and the way nations should conduct themselves.”
Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said protecting human rights was worth ending an arms deal with Saudi Arabia and losing leverage in the Middle East.
“It’s something we have to address from a human rights standpoint,” Rubio said. “Just because a country we’re working with did it doesn’t mean the US can just shrug its shoulders and say nothing happened here.”
Rubio said money should not be a factor in the US’s response to Khashoggi’s murder because it could sell its weapons to other countries while also protecting its record on human rights.
“We lose our credibility and our moral standing to criticize (Russian President Vladimir) Putin for murdering people, (Syrian President Bashar Al-)Assad for murdering people, (Venezuelan President Nicolas) Maduro in Venezuela for murdering people,” Rubio said. “We can’t say anything about that if we allow Saudi Arabia to do it and all we do is a diplomatic slap on the wrist.”
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey two weeks ago. Saudi authorities previously maintained Khashoggi left the consulate the same afternoon of his visit, but provided no evidence to support the claim.
On Friday, a source familiar with the investigation told CNN that Turkish authorities have audio and visual evidence that shows Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. But it was unclear how Turkish authorities obtained the evidence.
According to two sources, the Saudis are preparing a report that will acknowledge Khashoggi’s death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong.