Sunday, August 09, 2020

(JNS.org) The U.S. State Department was criticized Monday for a tweet by its embassy in Saudi Arabia that omitted President Donald Trump’s plan to visit Israel later this month, following his stop in Saudi Arabia.

The tweet, which was sent out by the Arabic-language Twitter handle @USAinKSA, included a now-removed video clip of Trump’s announcement on his first foreign trip, omitting Trump’s mention of the Israel portion of his trip but including the president’s scheduled stops in Saudi Arabia and Rome. Democrats serving on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee later posted a video highlighting the difference between White House and Saudi embassy clips featuring Trump’s remarks.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the Foreign Affairs Committee’s top-ranking Democrat, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that he was “appalled that the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia disingenuously posted this incomplete and misleading video.”

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“This video plays into a rejectionist narrative and thus has no place in any social media—or any other form of communication—associated with the United States government,” Engel wrote.

After the tweet’s removal, a State Department official told Politico it was an “inadvertent mistake.”

“The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh shared a version of the video announcement from a private Saudi citizen’s social media account. Unknowingly, the shared version had been edited to remove the word ‘Israel,’” a State Department official said. “Upon learning this, the U.S. Embassy immediately corrected the error, took down the video and loaded the correct version to its social media accounts.”

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