The Saudi defense minister says Riyadh has funded as much as 20 percent of the money that US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has spent to court voters, according to a report.
Mohammed bin Salman's remarks were published and later deleted by Jordan’s official Petra News Agency. The website claimed on Tuesday that it had been hacked and that the item had been fabricated.
The report, however, has been republished by the Washington-based Institute for Persian Gulf Affairs.
“Saudi Arabia always has sponsored both Republican and Democratic Party of America,” said Mohammed, also the Saudi deputy crown prince, who is widely known as the power behind the throne.
He suggested that the generous contribution had been made to fight opposition to the presidency of the former US secretary of state, who has so far surpassed the 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the Democratic Party’s nomination.
According to a new study, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have a dim view of President Barack Obama, but overwhelmingly prefer Clinton over presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.
A study published on Monday by the Institute of Policy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya polled 935 Egyptian and Saudi citizens over the course of six weeks regarding a wide range of topics.
Clinton, who was formally endorsed by Obama last week, was the preferred candidate among 35.9% of Egyptians and 30.2% of Saudis. Trump, on the other hand, was favored by a mere 3.8% of Egyptians and 6.0% of Saudis.
US laws forbid foreign countries from sourcing campaign funding. Estimates place the volume of the Saudi donation at USD 42.35 million.
Trump has questioned the protective nature of the US relationship with Saudi Arabia. He has suggested that the US should consider ditching Riyadh because Washington was increasingly lessening its dependence on overseas oil.
Riyadh has, in the past, lavished cash upon the Clinton family. It became known in 2008 that the kingdom had donated between USD 10 million and USD 25 million to the Clinton Foundation charity.
The Saudi royal flew to Washington on Monday to discuss ways of strengthening relations with the United States, which have cooled under Obama's presidency.
The US has, time and again, been criticized for its conciliatory ties with Riyadh despite the latter’s widely-reported support for worldwide terrorism.
President Obama is currently under pressure to declassify 28 pages of a congressional report on the September, 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed some 3,000 people.
However, CIA chief John Brennan said on Monday that the potential publication of the classified parts of the 2002 report will clear Saudi Arabia of any responsibility.
This came amid Riyadh’s threats that it might sell up to USD 750 billion in US securities and other assets if it is connected to the attacks.