They came, they saw, they fist bumped.
President Joe Biden made it to Jeddah, the famed Saudi Arabian port city on the Red Sea, to do something with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The fist bump might have been partially due to the rising number of global COVID-19 cases, but more likely it was a way for Biden to avoid shaking hands with the man seen as responsible for the brutal and inexcusable murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff condemned the fist bump in a viral tweet, saying that it is a “visual reminder of the continuing grip oil-rich autocrats have on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.”
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.
One fist bump is worth a thousand words.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) July 15, 2022
Khashoggi gained notoriety for interviewing and traveling with Osama bin Laden, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and supported Hamas. His murder has been a media fixation for the last four years. Biden apparently mentioned Khashoggi to MBS during their meeting; but as one Washington Post columnist put it, it “seemed like a box-checking exercise.”
President Joe Biden is welcomed by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Alsalam Royal Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 15, 2022. (Royal Court of Saudi Arabia/Getty Images)
So what did JRB and MBS discuss? As we hypothesized in yesterday’s Breitbart Business Digest, we can’t really report that at this time because we don’t really know. We do know that there was the aforementioned fist bump, something that we also predicted in yesterday’s edition. There were also some photos. And there were some words exchanged. (We think, but really, who is to say?) And, the American president met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz. They shook hands.
Everything seemed very cordial, which is a 180-degree pivot from Biden’s previous rhetoric about the Saudis. In 2019, Biden said, “We were going to, in fact, make them pay the price, and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are.”
As Joel Pollak wrote at Breitbart News, it appears as though President Biden abandoned a fair number of his campaign promises during this week in the Middle East, and that’s a good thing.
Here’s to small victories! Though, we are genuinely curious if he was able to convince the key OPEC nation to produce more crude oil and alleviate some of the pressure on American families. And, we’re even more interested if MBS heckled the American president for not tapping our own resources at home, which is something Biden can easily do but won’t.
Retail sales data was released Friday, indicating a one percent improvement in June. This slightly beats estimates, but that figure is not inflation-adjusted. Inflation was 1.3 percent during that time, so the real retail sales number was slightly negative. This statistic also includes gas, so there’s nothing to be excited about here.
The Empire State manufacturing survey, which comes from the New York Fed, has been in negative territory, indicating a contraction in manufacturing activity. While prognosticators had assumed it would stay negative, the gauge actually improved slightly. However, economists indicated that they have very low expectations for the next six months. So, more gloominess there.
A bright spot in the data comes from the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment, which was also released Friday. It showed a rosier outlook amongst consumers, many of whom apparently believe long-term inflation is or will soon be slowing. If the Fed decides on a 75-basis point hike at the their next meeting instead of the expected 100-basis point hike, this number might be a reason why.
And finally, we recommend our Breitbart News Daily Podcast every day, but today in particular because our guest is economist Steve Moore.
Moore just published a study examining the background of Biden administration officials who handle economic policy to see whether or not they have any actual business experience. The results will shock you. Actually, maybe they won’t shock you. According to his calculations, a whopping 62 percent of the Biden administration who handle U.S. economic policy have zero years of business experience. He breaks it all down on the show.