The hosts of “The View” largely defended President Biden on Monday morning, after his fist bump with the Saudi Crown Prince went viral this weekend. But Sunny Hostin was the outlier at the table, scolding the president for “normalizing a murderer.”
As part of his trip to Saudi Arabia — which he faced criticisms for even going through with — Biden met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday. Shortly thereafter, images and video of the President fist-bumping the royal sparked outrage, considering Bin Salman ordered the 2018 assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
And for Hostin, that was the sticking point. She noted that she understood why Biden went to Saudi Arabia to begin with, as far as discussing oil prices, but argued that this particular meeting was “an unforced error.”
“This is a murderer. You don’t normalize a murderer by this fist bump,” Hostin said. “It was the photo op that he wanted and we’ve normalized these relationships.”
When host Joy Behar questioned whether Biden truly “normalized” the relationship, Hostin doubled down. You can watch the full segment from “The View” in the video above.
“Yes, absolutely,” Hostin replied. “No Joy, this is the rehabilitation that MBS wants and Joe Biden gave that to him.”
Behar herself argued that Biden was a bit forced into this meeting, thanks to politicians at home like Joe Manchin, and pointed out that former president Donald Trump also met with widely denounced world leaders.
“Well, let’s not forget that Trump was pals with Putin, Kim Jong-Un, he practically had them in the Lincoln Bedroom. I mean, he was really interested in being with those guys,” she said. “So this is just somebody I think — I mean, I do defend Biden quite a bit, I know — but it’s like, you know, if Manchin and some of these Republicans would allow the industries to just cut back on fossil fuels and get alternative fuels going, he wouldn’t have to, you know, fist bump this guy. Who by the way, he did say to him, I think that you were responsible for Khashoggi’s death. I mean, he did confront him.”
Host Sara Haines also landed on the side of defending Biden, noting that while she’s never been a fan of U.S. presidents meeting with Saudi Arabian leaders, she knows that it’s a necessary evil.
“So this imagery always bothers me, but when you read in further, the reason every president has gone over there is the more important part,” Haines said. “This is a chess game when it comes to international relations, it’s not checkers. This is not as simple as it appears in an image.”