In 2018, as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman embarked on a cross-country, getting-to-know-you tour of the United States, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi sent me a warning on WhatsApp: “I think America is brainwashed.”
The idea behind the visit — during which MBS, as the crown prince is known, met with everyone from President Donald Trump to Oprah Winfrey, with stops at media outlets, including The Post — was to present MBS as the modern, youthful face of reform in Saudi Arabia. But as he smiled for the cameras and dined in the Hollywood hills, Saudi Arabia was jailing critics, had started a destabilizing spat with Qatar and was bombing Yemen.
Seven months later, Jamal was murdered by a Saudi hit squad in Istanbul.
MBS was swiftly condemned and ostracized — but something told me this wouldn’t last long.