Trump Didn't Stand up to Saudi Arabia's MBS Over Khashoggi Murder Because He Feared Oil Prices Rising, Anonymous Book Says

The author of a new book detailing the dysfunction within President Donald Trump's White House has claimed that the commander in chief shied away from confronting his Saudi allies following their murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, fearing a spike in oil prices.

The new book—"A Warning" by Anonymous, who also penned a New York Times column in September 2018 claiming some White House officials were working to restrain Trump—paints a chaotic picture of the administration.

The 259-page book goes on sale on Tuesday. The author claims that many former and current administration officials share his dim view of the president.

Trump was roundly criticized for his lackluster response to Khashoggi's murder. The U.S. resident and Washington Post journalist was murdered and dismembered by a Saudi hit squad in the country's consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—colloquially known as MBS—initially even denied that Khashoggi was dead, but as evidence mounted his government was forced to admit involvement.

MBS still denies ordering the murder, despite significant evidence that he wanted Khashoggi dead and was in regular contact with the handler of the hit squad.

Trump publicly backed MBS' denials in the immediate aftermath of the murder, according to Anonymous because he did not want to risk driving the price of crude oil—of which Saudi Arabia is a major producer—up.

Anonymous wrote that Trump suggested it would be foolish to stand up to MBS on the matter, despite enormous international and domestic pressure to do so.

"Oil is at fifty dollars a barrel," the president told aides according to a copy of the book obtained by CNN. "Do you know how stupid it would be to pick this fight? Oil would go up to $150 dollars a barrel. Jesus. How f****** stupid would I be?"

Frustrated by the discussion, Trump also reportedly told aides, "I am not going to talk about this anymore!"

Trump's steadfast support for Saudi Arabia has been consistently criticized by his opponents.

The administration has largely ignored the country's rampant human rights abuses both at home and abroad, while continuing to sell it vast amounts of military hardware.

Reports have also uncovered close ties between MBS and Trump senior aide and son-in-law Jared Kushner. According to The Spectator, Kushner even gave MBS the green light to arrest Khashoggi.

Anonymous suggested Kushner had been advocating for MBS behind the scenes following Khashoggi's murder. The author wrote that Kushner told others, "You've got to see it from his perspective," referring to MBS.

Anonymous defended the decision to conceal his identity, stressing "this debate is not about me."

He added, "It is about us. It is about how we want the presidency to reflect our country, and that is where the discussion should center. Some will call this 'cowardice.' My feelings are not hurt by the accusation. Nor am I unprepared to attach my name to criticism of President Trump. I may do so, in due course."

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, however, was quick to brand the author "a coward" and claimed the book was a "work of fiction."

Donald Trump, MBS, Jamal Khashoggi, murder, oil
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, D.C. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images/Getty
Trump Didn't Stand up to Saudi Arabia's MBS Over Khashoggi Murder Because He Feared Oil Prices Rising, Anonymous Book Says | Politics