Biden says Trump "seems to have a love affair with autocrats"

Former Vice President Joe Biden criticized President Trump for his leniency toward Saudi Arabia following the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Mr. Trump "seems to have a love affair with autocrats," Biden said in an interview with "CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell. "I just don't know why this administration seems to feel the need to coddle autocrats and dictators from Putin to Kim Jong Un to you know Duterte. I don't understand it," he said.

When asked by O'Donnell to explain Mr. Trump's behavior, Biden responded: "I don't want to speculate on my worst fears. But, either he doesn't know what he is doing or he has an absolutely convoluted notion of what allows America to lead the world."

Biden said that his doubts about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have "been confirmed." The Turkish government believes that Khashoggi was killed on the orders of the Saudi government. "My doubts are that there's very little sense of rule of law, respect for human rights, dignity," Biden said. "The allegations that are made so far ... are not inconsistent with the way the kingdom would act."

In an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday, Mr. Trump compared Khashoggi's disappearance to accusations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, saying "here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent."

"The idea that he's already making excuses before the facts are known is typical, but it hurts us internationally," Biden said.

Although Mr. Trump has noted that Khashoggi is not an American citizen, Biden raised the point that he was a resident of the United States. "This is as close as you can get to citizenship. He lived here and the idea that we would not take retaliation against them is ridiculous," Biden said. He suggested that the U.S. could cancel arms sales to Saudi Arabia as a retaliatory measure.


Watch Norah O'Donnell's full interview with former Vice President Joe Biden:


Initial story published: October 17 at 5:44 pm

  • Grace Segers

    Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.