On Friday, he sought a reset of relations with the Saudis as he looked for ways to lower high gas prices in the US, which have contributed to a significant drop in Biden’s approval ratings.

Biden’s fist bump with MBS signals a reset in US-Saudi relationship and draws fierce criticism

Ahead of his departure to the Middle East, administration officials had told CNN they were aiming for a full reset of the US-Saudi relationship after years of strain following Khashoggi’s murder.
A fist bump in front of the cameras between Biden and the Crown Prince neatly symbolized that moment.
The meetings in Jeddah largely seemed to go along with the planned reset of the US relationship with the kingdom, and Biden announced several new areas of cooperation aimed at reshaping US-Saudi relations. But the images of Biden’s seemingly chummy interactions with the Crown Prince drew the most attention.

The President was fiercely criticized — including by fellow Democrats — for fist-bumping MBS during their first in-person interaction in Jeddah. Critics argued the fist bump helped rehabilitate the 36-year-old leader’s reputation on the world stage just over a year after the US declassified an intelligence report concluding that he personally ordered the brutal killing of Khashoggi, a charge the Crown Prince denied in their meeting, Biden said.

The images of the fist bump were quickly promoted by the Saudi government, including on Saudi state TV. Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan said Biden’s fist bump was “shameful” because it “projected a level of intimacy and comfort that delivers to MBS the unwarranted redemption he has been desperately seeking.”

There was much speculation ahead of the trip whether Biden would shake the Crown Prince’s hand, particularly when the White House said the President would be looking to reduce contact with others amid the

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