Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in an interview on Sunday that she thinks President Biden will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the president’s controversial upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia.
When asked during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” if Biden would meet the crown prince, Granholm said that she believed he would.
“I think he will meet with the Saudi crown prince,” Granholm said.
When asked specifically about a one-on-one meeting between the president and the crown prince, the energy secretary said that it was her understanding that the leaders would be meeting.
“But there’s a series of meetings around energy overall. The Saudis are very interested, for example, in developing an expertise around hydrogen, clean hydrogen production. So I think there’s a series of topics related to energy on the table,” Granholm added.
Her remarks come after Biden last week said he was not going to Saudi Arabia to meet with the crown prince, whose critics have accused him of a dismal human rights record.
“I’m not going to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. I’m going to an international meeting, and he’s going to be part of it,” the president said on Friday.
But earlier last week, the Biden administration announced the president’s trip to Saudi Arabia and said it would include a meeting with the crown prince.
The president has also previously said that any potential Saudi trip would not relate to energy.
“The commitments from the Saudis don’t relate to anything having to do with energy,” he said before officially confirming his travel plans.
“It happens to be a larger meeting taking place in Saudi Arabia. That’s the reason I’m going,” he said. “And it has to do with national security for them, for Israelis. … It has to do with much larger issues than having to do with the energy piece.”
All the while, Granholm and other Biden administration have scrambled to address skyrocketing gas prices across the country.
As of Sunday, the national average for a gallon of gas was $4.983, down slightly from previous records above $5 per gallon, according to the American Automobile Association.