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White House Correspondents' Association rebukes White House for not disclosing Saudi meeting

Trump admin. briefs Congress on Soleimani

The White House Correspondents' Association assailed the White House on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia's government revealed its vice minister of defense sat down with President Trump for a meeting that was not disclosed to the public.

The gathering at the White House with Mr. Trump, his senior advisers and Saudi deputy defense minister Prince Khalid bin Salman took place Monday and only became known after the Saudi government released a statement and photos Tuesday morning. 

"It is disturbing to see the government of Saudi Arabia have more transparency than the White House about a meeting with the president in the Oval Office," Jonathan Karl, president of the White House Correspondents' Association, said in a statement.

The meeting was not on Mr. Trump's public schedule Monday, and the White House did not provide a readout of the president's meeting with Saudi Arabia's vice minister of defense, as is customary.

Following the release by the organization, which is comprised of members of the White House press corps, Mr. Trump tweeted about the meeting, saying he and Khalid discussed "trade, military, oil prices, security, and stability in the Middle East."

The Saudi government said earlier Monday that Khalid and Mr. Trump "discussed the importance of strong bilateral relations between the two nations." Khalid also met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, according to the Saudi government.

In addition to the readout of the meeting from Saudi Arabia, Khalid tweeted photos of the Oval Office meeting, which showed national security adviser Robert O'Brien and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner in attendance, and said he met with the president "upon directives" from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Khalid said in his tweet he met with Mr. Trump to "deliver a message from the crown prince, and to review aspects of our bilateral cooperation, including efforts to confront regional and international challenges."

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