After using his 700 Club show to dismiss outrage swirling around reports of the murder of journalist Jamal Khoshoggi by the Saudi government, televangelist Pat Robertson was on the receiving end of widespread mockery and condemnation. Now, he’s walking those comments back.
On October 15, Robertson called Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman‘s Wahhabi brand of Islam and his history of human rights abuses “obnoxious,” but didn’t think it was a good enough reason to jeopardize relations with the kingdom.
“I just want to cool down the temper of those who are screaming blood for the Saudis,” Robertson said. “Look, these people are key allies. Our main enemy in the Middle East is Iran, and the Saudis stand up against Iran.”
“And I know that Wahhabi faith they practice is obnoxious, and what they’ve done in relation to women is obnoxious,” he continued. “Some of their courts are obnoxious, but nevertheless I don’t think on this issue that we need to pull sanctions and get tough.”
A day later, Robertson acknowledged then-developing reports surrounding the gruesome details surrounding Khoshoggi’s murder, but maintained that the U.S. needs to “cool the rhetoric.
Numerous outlets posted stories slamming Robertson’s comments. On The Late Show, host Stephen Colbert did a segment featured Moses holding the Ten Commandments clarifying the meaning of “thou shalt not kill.”
On #LSSC tonight: With evangelical leaders like Pat Robertson downplaying the death of a journalist in Saudi Arabia, Moses publicly clarifies the meaning of ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ pic.twitter.com/b4ZY9asIHE
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) October 19, 2018
But on his show today, Robertson’s tone was much different and he took a hardline against the Saudis, who he said “aren’t telling the truth.”
“They’ve lied and lied and lied and it’s been dissembling and half-truth and a little here and a little there,” Robertson said in a video flagged by Right Wing Watch. “It was a premeditated murder.”
“Oil or not, or arms deal or otherwise, we cannot be aligned with a group of people who have persecuted women and have kangaroo courts and have this religious police that is just incredibly bad,” he continued.
Robertson reiterated his belief that the U.S. should maintain a relationship with the Saudis, but added that the U.S. should “not make any kind of accommodation” with them in light of their crimes.
“[Mohammad bin Salman] is a murderer and he had a hit squad and there is no question that this was premeditated,” Robertson concluded.
“This was a hit squad that came in, when they have body doubles and when they have bone saws and all this kind of stuff. There is no doubt they intended to kill this man, dismember his body, torture him and then hide the evidence and that is what they have been doing and nobody with any intelligence is buying it. They have been lying through their teeth.”
Watch the video below, via Right Wing Watch:
Featured image via screen grab