Saudi Arabia’s alliance with the United States is critical for not only the United States, but Israeli interests as well, President Donald Trump told journalists at a special press conference on Thursday.

Following a special teleconference call from his Florida home in Mar-a-Lago Thursday morning with American service members stationed across the globe, President Trump spoke with reporters during a brief press conference.

When questioned regarding the White House’s response to claims that the Saudi government, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, had ordered the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey, Trump emphasized the importance of the US-Saudi relationship, while denying any clear link between the Saudi Crown Prince and the killing.

President Trump also said the close relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia was critical to Israeli interests as well.

“If you look at Israel, Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia. So what does that mean? Is Israel going to leave? Do you want Israel to leave? We have a very strong ally in Saudi Arabia. We have an ally that says that it did not commit – at the top level, the Crown Prince, the King – this atrocity.”

“The fact is they’ve been a very strong ally. They create tremendous wealth and a tremendous amount of jobs in their purchases. They keep the oil prices down – if you want to see a global depression, raise the oil prices by $50 a barrel.”

Saudi Arabia “is a very important ally, and if we go by a certain standard, we won’t be able to be allies with almost any country.”

This is not the first time President Trump has cited Israel while highlighting the importance of the US-Saudi relations.

On Tuesday, the White House released a statement from the president in which Trump referenced the interests of both the US and Israel in connection to the Saudi regime.

“The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!”

In October, President Trump told the Wall Street Journal that Saudi Arabi had been “a very good ally with respect to Iran and with respect to Israel.”

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