White House Press Association Rebukes Trump Administration for Secret Saudi Meeting in Oval Office

The White House Correspondents’ Association rebuked President Trump’s administration on Tuesday for an Oval Office meeting with Saudi Vice Minister of Defense Khalid bin Salman that was not publicly disclosed. The meeting was discovered Monday when Saudi Arabia released a statement and photos.

“President Trump met with Saudi Arabia’s Vice Minister of Defense at the White House yesterday, but the public did not learn about the meeting until the Saudi government released a statement about it today,” the WHCA statement said.

“The Saudi government also released photographs of the President and his senior advisers meeting with the Vice Minister of Defense in the Oval Office. A meeting with a foreign leader in the Oval Office should, at the very least, be on the public schedule with a read-out of the meeting released after it is over.”

The statement went on to say that was a “long-standing precedent for presidents of both political parties.”

“It is disturbing to see the government of Saudi Arabia have more transparency than the White House about a meeting with the President in the Oval Office,” concluded the message, which was signed by association president Jonathan Karl.

A representative for the White House did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.

WHCA Statement on White House Meeting with Saudi Minister pic.twitter.com/OneVtd8Wcw

16 Hollywood and Media Deals With Saudi Arabia – and Where They Now Stand (Gallery)

A growing number of Hollywood and U.S. media companies have backed out of business deals with Saudi Arabia and the crown prince, known by his initials MBS, after Turkish officials concluded that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi operatives inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Here is a list of Hollywood and media deals with Saudi Arabia — and where they stand now.

Richard Branson

British entrepreneur Richard Branson announced he would step down as chairman of Virgin Hyperloop, a planned supersonic transport system in the United Arab Emirates and other countries, CNBC reported.

The Harbour Group

Leading D.C. lobbying firm representing the Saudi government’s interests, the Harbour Group, announced on Oct. 11 it was terminating its $80,000-a-month contract with the kingdom.

WME parent company Endeavor, one of Hollywood’s top talent agencies, said on Oct. 15 it was preparing to withdraw from its $400 million financing deal with the Saudi Arabian government.

Gerard Butler 

Actor Gerard Butler pulled out of a trip to Saudi Arabia to promote his new movie “Hunter Killer” following  Khashoggi’s disappearance.

‘Davos in the Desert’

The New York Times, Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC, The Financial Times, Nikkei, The Los Angeles Times, Fox Business Channel, Viacom and The Economist are among the names that have withdrawn their sponsorship or canceled their appearances from the high-powered Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, dubbed “Davos in the Desert,” to be hosted by the Crown Prince and the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund in late October.

The movie theater chain has plans to open 40 theaters in the kingdom within the next five years, with the aim to reach 100 locations by 2030.

AMC declined to comment when reached by TheWrap.

Penske Media Corp. 

In February, Penske, which owns Hollywood trades Variety and Deadline, among other publications, received a $200 million investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. The company declined to comment about whether it will reassess the investment.

World Wrestling Entertainment 

WWE, which is due to return to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 2 for its “Crown Jewel” wrestling event, told TheWrap in statement that it’s “currently monitoring the situation.” An insider also told TheWrap WWE talent have been instructed to promote the event — but not its location — for two weeks now.

IMAX 

Plans for IMAX to build more movie theaters in the kingdom, which have been mired in red tape, will likely be put on “pause” following Khashoggi’s disappearance, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke with TheWrap.

Vox Cinemas

This Dubai-based movie theater chain — not to be confused with media outlet Vox — often received revenue from rich Saudis who traveled to Dubai on weekends while KSA’s cinema ban was in effect. They, along with AMC, got the inside track on negotiations to build cineplexes in the country and are currently the only two chains with the license from the government to do so. Vox declined to comment.

Feld Entertainment

The company told TheWrap it had not signed any deals with the Saudis to bring international events, including “Disney on Ice,” “Disney Live,” “Marvel Experience” and “Monster Jam” to the kingdom, but that it was “still in conversation” with the kingdom. The company did not wish to comment further.

In March, the Florida-based luxury movie theater chain had announced it had partnered with Saudi firm BAS Global Investments Co. to develop cinemas and restaurants throughout the kingdom. An iPic rep told TheWrap Wednesday that it had “no further updates” on the deal.

Nat Geo 

In April, National Geographic announced it was partnering with the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia to develop and launch several locations for its walk-through virtual-reality zoo.

Reps for Nat Geo told TheWrap they “don’t have an answer yet” on whether the partnership will continue.

Cirque du Soleil

The iconic live entertainment brand had its first performance in Saudi Arabia on Sept. 23, just before Khashoggi went missing. It is unclear whether the company has any more performances planned in Saudi Arabia. Reps for the company did not respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.

IMG Artists

The performing arts, social media, and festival and events management company signed a letter of intent to bring large-scale festivals to the kingdom.

A rep for IMG told TheWrap that the deal went “stale” shortly after it was signed, following “changes” in the monarchy’s 2030 Vision campaign.

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Death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi threatens kingdom’s modernization plans

A growing number of Hollywood and U.S. media companies have backed out of business deals with Saudi Arabia and the crown prince, known by his initials MBS, after Turkish officials concluded that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi operatives inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Here is a list of Hollywood and media deals with Saudi Arabia — and where they stand now.

Death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi threatens kingdom’s modernization plans

A growing number of Hollywood and U.S. media companies have backed out of business deals with Saudi Arabia and the crown prince, known by his initials MBS, after Turkish officials concluded that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi operatives inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Here is a list of Hollywood and media deals with Saudi Arabia — and where they stand now.

This content was originally published here.

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