Many people pointed out instances of irony during President Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia, including Ivanka Trump's choice to call women's rights in the county "encouraging" even as women in the kingdom are forbidden from traveling alone and are kept segregated in public places. But perhaps no one was more stumped by the potential hypocrisy than acting Assistant Secretary of State Stuart Jones, who was asked Tuesday by AFP's Dave Clark about the discrepancy of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson promoting the importance of democracy while flanked by Saudi leaders. Saudi Arabia is ranked 159th out of 167 countries on democracy by The Economist, higher only than nations like Syria and North Korea.
"While you were over there, the secretary criticized the conduct of the Iranian elections and Iran's record on democracy. He did so standing next to Saudi officials," Clark pointed out. "How would you characterize Saudi Arabia's commitment to democracy and does the administration believe democracy is a buffer or barrier against extremism?"
Jones freezes at the question. He contorts his face. He thinks. And thinks. It takes a full 29 seconds before Jones can get a word out. Watch below. Jeva Lange