WSJ: Saudi Crown Prince Mocks Biden in Private, 'Questioning His Mental Acuity' Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia looks on in the Oval Office at the White House May 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Olivier Douliery – Pool/Getty)
By Brian Pfail | Monday, 24 October 2022 06:18 PM EDT
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman mocked President Joe Biden after rejecting his request to delay the oil deal until after the midterms.
The 37-year-old Saudi prince "mocks President Biden in private, making fun of the 79-year-old’s gaffes and questioning his mental acuity," Saudi government insiders told the Wall Street Journal.
The crown prince told his advisers he had not been impressed with Biden since he was vice president and that he "much preferred" former President Donald Trump.
The prince, colloquially known as "MBS," led OPEC+ in its decision to cut production by 2 million barrels per day, leading to gas price increases one month before the U.S. midterm elections.
During a CNN interview last week, Biden said he promises to "reevaluate" Washington’s relationship with Riyadh. The Saudis say they are looking to do the same.
Biden met with MBS in July, starting the meeting with a controversial fist bump. Saudi officials felt Biden "didn’t want to be there and was uninterested in the policy discussion," according to the Journal.
The crown prince was angered when Biden mentioned the human rights violations, including the 2018 death of Jamal Khashoggi. Early in his presidency, Biden also released a report linking MBS to Khashoggi’s dismemberment.
Despite MBS’ alleged disdain for Biden, the kingdom asserted its motivations for cutting production were purely economic.
In an interview, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan said, "Our economic agenda is critical to our survival. It’s not just about energy and defense." He also said MBS bad-mouthing Biden was "entirely false" and that "the kingdom’s leaders have always held the utmost respect for U.S. presidents."
Saudi officials told the Journal that they have grown frustrated with the relationship with the West, viewing it only through oil and security interests. They plan to use profits from oil prices to modernize other sectors of their economy and build a “post-oil future.”
The next OPEC+ meeting is scheduled for early December. In the same month, the European Union plans to enact its embargo on Russian oil and G7 nations cap the price of Russian crude oil.