Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told "Fox & Friends" Monday that President Biden calling Saudi Arabia a "pariah" state was an "enormous mistake" as the commander in chief is gearing up to visit the Middle Eastern country this week. 

The trip, scheduled for July 13-16 for Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia, will include meetings with a number of world leaders for discussions on a host of issues including security, energy, climate issues, human rights and the growing threat of Iran. 

"President Biden said he would make the kingdom of Saudi Arabia a pariah state. That was an enormous mistake," Pompeo said on "Fox & Friends." "But let's look at the facts. They are an important security partner for the United States." 

"There's only one country in that whole region that wants to threaten the United States of America and Israel and wipe us from the face of the earth," Pompeo continued. "That's the leadership in Iran and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia's been an important partner in helping protect us from that threat." 


Biden and wife salute

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington from a weekend trip to Rehoboth Beach, Del., on Sunday, July 10. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Pompeo also said "the transformations that have taken place in Saudi Arabia, we can all argue about the pace and the speed with which they've taken place, but it disbanded police forces that threatened women" and that the "crown prince has made life better for all the Saudi people, including females there." 

Biden previously promised to make Saudi Arabia a global "pariah" due to its mistreatment of human beings, violations of international law, and open hostility to the U.S. – including the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

Bin Salman on chair

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected to meet President Biden in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,  (Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS)

"We were going to in fact make [Saudi Arabia] pay the price, and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are," Biden said in a 2019 debate. 


In a statement in June, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden’s trip this week will "reinforce the United States’ iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security and prosperity and attend a Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council plus Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan (known as the GCC+3)."  

Khashoggi delivering remarks

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain on Dec. 15, 2014.  (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File)

"He will also meet with counterparts from across the region, to advance U.S. security, economic, and diplomatic interests," she added. 

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Timothy Nerozzi contributed to this report.