What binds Donald Trump, the Saudis, and Yemen’s starving children
- The Saudi war on Yemen, which has already killed 10,000 civilians, has escalated under Trump’s watch
US President Donald Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago early in his presidency cost US$13.6 million, with the Defence Department and Homeland Security incurring most of those costs.
Meanwhile, the nation of Yemen is embroiled in a ghastly war, one that has claimed the lives of at least 85,000 children. In his State of the Union address, Donald Trump addressed everything from manufacturing jobs to tax codes to Nasa missions, to prison reform, to infrastructure, to partisan politics, to Nato and Islamic State. But one topic he totally ignored was Yemen. On his watch, an entire generation of children are at risk of starving to death. Yet he does nothing.
In a recent article, Democrat Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut wrote: “For three years, the United States has supported a coalition led by Saudi Arabia that is waging war inside Yemen, trying to oust a rebel government made up of members of the Houthi tribe. Our role in the coalition is significant – we sell bombs and weapons to the Saudis, we help them pick targets inside Yemen, and until recently, we refuelled their planes in the sky … it’s clear that the US is engaged in a war in Yemen. And yet this war has not been authorised or debated by Congress”. He went on to say how US involvement started quietly under Barack Obama, and increased under Donald Trump, with more than 10,000 civilians killed in the Saudi-led bombing campaign since the beginning of the civil war. “Targets have included schools, hospitals, weddings, a funeral party and recently a school bus carrying 38 children to a field trip”, he wrote.
Tragically, Trump’s unassailable relationship with the kingdom provides little hope for those starving children. Instead of trying to stop the carnage by ceasing arms sales to Saudi Arabia and using his political capital on the international stage to break the humanitarian assistance blockade, the president remains silent. Worse than that, as if to accentuate his apathy, he spends millions on vacations.
George Cassidy Payne, Rochester, NY