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White House skewered for failing to disclose meeting Trump had with Saudi deputy defense minister

The White House faced sharp criticism from journalists on Tuesday after they learned that an Oval Office meeting between President Trump and Saudi Vice Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman had not been publicly disclosed.

The public only learned about the Monday meeting between the two leaders after a statement and photos were released by Saudi Arabia.

“A meeting with a foreign leader in the Oval Office should, at the very least, be on the public schedule with a read-out of the meeting released after it is over,” Jon Karl, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said in a statement. “This has been the long-standing precedent for presidents of both political parties.”

Karl added, “It is disturbing to see the government of Saudi Arabia have more transparency than the White House about a meeting with the President in the Oval Office.”

Bin Salman, who is the younger brother of the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, tweeted Tuesday morning that during the meeting he and Trump reviewed “aspects of our bilateral cooperation, including efforts to confront regional an international challenges.”

Saudi Arabia is a key US ally in the Middle East where tensions have escalated in recent days after a US drone strike ordered by President Trump killed the top Iranian commander, Qasem Soleimani.

Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, did not immediately respond to questions about why the meeting was not publicly disclosed.

A formal readout of the meeting has still not been released by the White House, as is customary when the President meets with a foreign leader.

Trump, however, tweeted after the meeting had become public, describing it as “very good.”

“We discussed Trade, Military, Oil Prices, Security, and Stability in the Middle East!” Trump said in his tweet.

CNN

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