Steve Schmidt, former head of John McCain’s presidential campaign who also worked for the Bush Administration, said on MSNBC today that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson should disavow his high-profile relationship with Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
“I admire The Rock, but it’s time for Dwayne Johnson to repudiate him and stand up,” he told “Deadline: White House” host and former Bush administration communications director Nicolle Wallace. “It’s time for every p.r. agency in this country that has an office in Riyadh to shut it down and come home. It’s time for every lobbying firm to fire the Saudis. It’s time for every State pension fund to divest, for every technology, for every media company that is taking dirty Saudi money, send it back. This is a disgrace.
“This moment in time, what we’ve seen is the murder of a U.S. resident with American citizen children, a Washington Post columnist with a complicit president who has called journalists ‘the enemy of the people,’ the American people should rise up against this. We should put truth to the lie about who this guy is what this regime is.”
The Rock was called out by Business Insiders for “bizarre Instagram post” praising Mohammad bin Salman earlier this year in an article titled: “The Rock praises Saudi Arabia’s millennial crown prince in a bizarre Instagram post.” Excerpt of the article from April 4:
The actor attended a private dinner with the crown prince this week at media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s house. Others in attendance included Disney CEO Bob Iger, Morgan Freeman, James Cameron, and Universal film chairman Jeff Shell.
Johnson appeared to have had really enjoyed himself, so much so that he posted a lengthy message on his Instagram account.
“An historic night it was. A pleasure to have a private dinner with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, his royal family and distinguished cadre,” he said.
Johnson praised the crown prince for his modernization efforts in the kingdom, and said that he would visit Saudi Arabia soon.
The post originally included a section on Johnson’s apparent popularity in Saudi Arabia, although the actor seems to have removed it.
“On a personal note, I was extremely flattered and truthfully, blown away to be told about the level of love the Saudi people have for me and my popularity throughout the country. Very humbling and cool and I look forward to my first visit soon to Saudi Arabia,” Johnson wrote in the original post.
WWE’s only public statement on their scheduled Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia in two weeks is that they are “monitoring the situation.” Yesterday they announced ticket sales for the Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia launch tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and UK’s trade minister Liam Fox today have pulled out of an investment conference in Saudi Arabia amidst growing evidence that Washing Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured and butchered to death in a Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey earlier this month after being an outspoke critic of the Saudi Prince and advocate for more press freedom in the Middle East.
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