On Thursday evening, Donald Trump went to Montana to make jokes about assaulting journalists and the rally crowd responded by laughing and making threats against the reporters on hand at the event. If Trump and his followers seemed particularly cruel … that’s exactly where the whole Republican Party is going. Because even as the evidence piles up that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered inside the Saudi consulate on orders from crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, Republicans are planning their response — smear Khashoggi.
As the Washington Post reports, both conservative congressmen and media hosts have mounted a campaign against Khashoggi to paint him as someone who was friendly with terrorists and who conspired against the United States. The purpose of the campaign is to make the gruesome dismemberment of the US resident acceptable, make Saudi actions ugly but necessary, and most of all to make Trump’s continued refusal to speak out against bin Salman acceptable.
Republicans in the House have been swapping links and posts from alt-Reich websites that have already turned Khashoggi into a founding member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a close associate of Osama bin Laden, and a supporter of terrorists. Those same reports are getting more attention on right-wing talk radio, where they’ve been blown up even larger than the original sites — making the whole idea that Khashoggi was allowed into the United States in the first place seem like a mistake.
And, of course, those accusations have reached Fox News.
“Khashoggi was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood,” Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner asserted on Thursday’s highly rated “Outnumbered” show. “I just put it out there because it is in the constellation of things that are being talked about.” Faulkner then dismissed another guest who called her claim “iffy.”
They’ve also started reaching the midterm campaigns, where the alt-Reich’s most reliable water carrier, Corey Stewart, declared that “Khashoggi was not a good guy himself.”