Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) sent an eyebrow-raising tweet Friday afternoon as the prominent Democrat took a shot at President Joe Biden for fist-bumping the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier in the day.
Biden is visiting Saudi Arabia as part of a diplomatic effort to discuss human rights, energy production, and security in the Middle East and beyond. Upon greeting the crown prince Friday, the U.S. president extended his hand for a fistbump. The White House maintains it was done for COVID-19 precautions, but the commander-in-chief caught criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for his greeting.
“If we ever needed a visual reminder of the continuing grip oil-rich autocrats have on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, we got it today,” Schiff tweeted. “One fist bump is worth a thousand words.”
Congressman Byron Donalds (R-FL) also blasted Biden for the foreign policy faux pas.
“A fist bump for the Saudis and the middle finger to Texas, Colorado, Alaska, North Dakota, and New Mexico, who stand ready to produce the oil Biden is begging Saudi Arabia for,” he tweeted. “America LAST.”
It has been reported that Biden will ask Saudi Arabia to increase oil production to help increase the global oil supply and lower prices during his trip. The White House has not confirmed these reports but has said Biden will discuss oil supply.
Biden has consistently blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine for the high cost of oil around the globe. Yet critics of the administration argue that Biden and his team have drastically hampered and discouraged oil drilling domestically in exchange for relying on foreign sources of oil since coming into office.
“President Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia is another slap to the face of American oil and gas producers,” Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX) tweeted.
“From day one, Biden has demonized reliable energy producers through his rhetoric and policies,” the Texas representative added. “Now he’s fist bumping Saudi royals. Despicable.”
In response to Schiff, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw responded, “Maybe we wouldn’t need to depend on foreign autocracies so much for oil if dems allowed us to be energy independent again.”
During the 2020 campaign, candidate Biden promised voters he would “make [Saudi Arabia] pay the price, and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are” for alleged human rights abuses.
The president is hoping to use this trip as part of an effort to repair relations between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, but some experts say that it is unlikely the crown prince will forgive and forget Biden’s campaign pledges anytime soon.
“I think the crown prince is not going to go out of his way for Biden,” Stephen Innes, the managing partner at SPI Asset Management told NBC News. “The comments that were made during the presidential campaign, these are lasting comments. I don’t know how you reset after those comments.”