Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner responded to a comedian's apparent taunt regarding an issue in Saudi Arabia by saying he is "privately" applying pressure on Saudi leadership over human rights issues.
The day after comedian Hasan Minhaj called out Kushner — who was seated in the back of the room — during a speech Tuesday night for having a direct line to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, Kushner issued a response to Page Six.
Kushner told the outlet he is working on "advancing America's interests in the region" and admitted he has spoken directly with bin Salman about the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Minhaj's comment was in reference to Loujain al-Hathloul, who along with other Saudi women, has been detained for activism. Some of them have been beaten and tortured while in prison.
"I will continue to put pressure on privately," Kushner said.
Kushner was then asked if bin Salman would take action, to which he replied, "We'll see."
During a speech at the Time 100 Summit, Minhaj said, "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.' But, hey, that person would have to be in the room. It's just a good comedy premise."
It has been reported Kushner speaks with foreign leaders such as bin Salman on WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned app on which users communicate via encrypted messages.
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