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WATCH: State Department Official Is Stumped When Asked About U.S. Ignoring Saudi Arabia’s Lack Of Democracy


A key State Department official paused for 20 seconds Tuesday before answering a question about Saudi Arabia’s commitment to democracy.

“Secretary Tillerson criticized the Iranian elections and Iran’s record on democracy. He did so standing next to Saudi officials,” Agence France Presse reporter Dave Clarke said to Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Stuart Jones. “How would you characterize Saudi Arabia’s commitment to democracy and does the administration believe democracy is a barrier to terrorism?”

Jones, America’s top diplomat for the Middle East, struggled to answer the question about democracy in a country ruled by royals. After pausing for 20 seconds, he hailed the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf nations putting out a “strong statement against extremism,” and enacting certain measures so they can better “combat extremism.”

He added that a terrorist threat comes from Iran and “that’s coming from a part of the Iranian apparatus that is not at all responsible to its electorate.” Jones did not address the lack of democracy in Saudi Arabia.

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