President Donald Trump said that King Salman of Saudi Arabia called him to express his condolences over a mass shooting carried out by a Saudi national at a naval facility in Pensacola, Florida, on Friday.
King Salman attempted to distance the country from the shooter, who was at the Naval Air Station Pensacola for an international flight training program, according to Trump’s statement.
“The King said the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people,” the president tweeted.
U.S. officials confirmed the shooter was with the Saudi Air Force but they did not release details on his role within the military.
Trump has maintained a warm relationship with Saudi Arabia despite calls for the U.S. to withdraw its support for the country’s deadly regime war in Yemen.
The president has remained friendly with the Saudi Kingdom even after the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national who was a resident of the U.S. at the time of his death.
The Turkish government and the U.S. intelligence community believe that King Salman’s regime was responsible for ordering for Khashoggi’s death in 2018.
In October, senior members of the Trump administration, including Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, attended a Saudi investment conference that they had boycotted the year of Khashoggi’s death.
Ahead of that conference, Trump spoke with the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by phone about their “continued strong partnership” with Saudi Arabia.
The attack by the Saudi national on Friday left four people dead, including the shooter, and eight others injured.
Authorities would not speculate on whether the attack by the Saudi national on Friday was an act of terrorism.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) called on Saudi leaders to “make things better” during a press conference after the shooting.
“The government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims, and I think they’re going to owe a debt here, given that this is one of their individuals,” DeSantis said.