During an appearance on Sunday’s Fox and Friends on Fox News, Florida Senator Rick Scott said the US should put a hold on its military exchange program in the wake of the Pensacola shooting.
Last Friday, Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani killed three Americans and wounded either others in a shooting at Naval Air Station in Pensacola. The Saudi air force officer was studying at the base as part of the exchange program.
The Washington Post reports “Law enforcement officials combed through the shooter’s belongings and social media accounts on Saturday while questioning six other Saudi nationals, at least some of them fellow students in the same Navy flight training program. Three of the Saudis were said to have taken cellphone video at the scene, according to a U.S. official familiar with investigation.”
Senator Scott said "We cannot be taking risk for our sailors. The Saudi government has got to step up and say there will be full cooperation."
"We MUST make sure American men and women in uniform are safe. We need to suspend this program while we do a full review. And the Saudi government needs to step up and give full cooperation to American law enforcement.”
We MUST make sure American men and women in uniform are safe.— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) December 8, 2019
We need to suspend this program while we do a full review. And the Saudi government needs to step up and give full cooperation to American law enforcement. pic.twitter.com/fd4u52qhFt
In a case of damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t, Trump has been criticized for a somewhat muted response after the Friday attack.
In an op-ed in the Washington Post today, Max Boot writes "Instead of expressing outrage or vowing vengeance, or even waiting for all the facts to come in, Trump sounded as if he were auditioning for the job of press secretary at the Saudi Embassy. He conveyed King Salman’s “sincere condolences” and his (highly questionable) assurances “that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people.” Trump then told reporters that the king “will take care of the families and loved ones of the victims.”
....The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2019
Of course, Ilhan Omar, the Democrat representative from Minnesota who famously described 9/11 as the time “some people did something,” was quick to brand Trump’s comments as “shameful.”
A Saudi national committed a terrorist act on our soil, taking the lives of three servicemen, and the President of the United States is doing PR for the Saudi government.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 9, 2019
Well, it might be shameful if we knew for a fact the Saudi royal family actually funded, endorsed and helped plan the attack. But we don’t know that.
Did Second Lieutenant al-Shamrani open fire on Americans because he was from Saudi Arabia, or because of some other reason?
The Daily Mail reports "He had visited the 9/11 memorial in New York just two days before the shooting where he met up with at least five other Saudi airmen.
Authorities also believe the shooter authored a series of social media posts in which he talked about U.S. support for Israel and scolded Americans for being anti-Muslim.
After a trip home to Saudi Arabia in February, colleagues say he had become more religious, The New York Times reports."
In our welcoming, inclusive society, we should be careful about whom we allow — let alone invite— into our nation.
It’s doubtful any of Trump’s critics would support a “Saudi travel ban.”
It can’t be long before someone criticizes Senator’s Scott’s demand to suspend the military exchange program as “anti-Muslim.”