Hasan Minhaj lobbied for the release of a Saudi political prisoner at the TIME 100 gala.
It's no secret that Donald Trump and his aides refuse to backpedal on the country's foreign policy with Saudi Arabia. When news came to light pitting the Saudi Crown Prince (MBS) as the main architect behind the murder of a world renown journalist, Donald Trump didn't shy away from the topic. Quite the contrary, Trump acknowledged Mohammad Bin Salman's culpability in the murder while altogether refusing to allow it to interfere with US-Saudi relations. The president didn't see any point in muddying up US foreign policy with a Saudi oil exception hanging in the balance.
Then out of nowhere, the US press learned that Trump's son-in-law was acting as a liaison between him and Mohammad Bin Salman, as illustrated in a series Whatsapp conversations - a breach of conduct no different than his dalliances with the Russian intelligence community. When it came time to address the issue publicly, Jared Kushner was left to his own devices. "Look, I’m not going to dispute American intelligence services’ recommendations. I’m also not going to talk about anything intelligence-related," Kushner said at a TIME Magazine 100 forum taking place before yesterday's gala event.
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Coincidentally, Loujain al-Hathloul, a political activist imprisoned by the Saudi Kingdom was among the 100 global figures celebrated at last night's gala, as introduced by Hasan Minhaj. The comedian took it upon himself to plead for al-Hathloul's release from prison with known-Saudi loyalist Jared Kursner in attendance. His pointed message went a little something like this.
“I know there’s a lot of very powerful people here, and it would be crazy if there was a high ranking official in the White House that could Whatsapp MBS and say, ‘Hey maybe you could help that person get out of prison because they don’t deserve it,'" Minhaj said. "But hey, that person would have to be in the room. It’s just a good comedy premise."
Once the gala came to a close, Hasan Minhaj admitted to TIME that he was being sincere in his request towards Kurshner, due to the power vested in him by the White House. This was one moment where Minhaj's Patriot Act but touched on real political lines. Much respect is due.