WASHINGTON -- The street outside the Saudi Embassy got a new, and unofficial, addition on Tuesday: A street sign reading Khashoggi Way.
The sign was constructed by Claude Taylor who runs the anti-Trump organization Mad Dog PAC.
“We’ve been outraged by the crime that took place by Saudi Arabia,” Taylor said over the phone on Tuesday night.
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was a contributor for The Washington Post, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. Several Saudi nationals have been charged in connection with the killing, and The Washington Post wrote that the CIA concluded that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing.
On Tuesday, key Senate leaders met with the director of the CIA Gina Haspel about the killing, with some Senators emerging convinced that the crown prince played a role in the killing. Sen. Lindsey Graham called crown prince, “complicit in the highest level possible.”
The signage comes after the ANC Commission voted unanimously to bring a resolution to the D.C. City Council in 2019’s legislative session calling for the “east side of New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., between F Street, N.W., and Juarez Circle, N.W., in Ward 2” to be given a symbolic second name in honor of Khashoggi.
But, as Taylor noted, D.C. Code requires a person to have been dead for two years before being considered for a symbolic street naming.
A spokesperson for D.C. Chairman Phil Mendelson said on Tuesday night that Mendelson isn’t against the resolution, but that the Chairman is adhering to the 2 year rule. “In two years he would more than happy to revisit legislation to rename the street, should it be proposed,” a spokesperson wrote in an email on Tuesday night.
“At the same time, he fully supports other ways in which the Council can express sentiment, such as a sense of the Council resolution. Chairman Mendelson personally views what happened to Mr. Khashoggi, and the White House response, to be outrageous. He believes that if the President is going to claim ‘putting America first,’ doing so begins with protecting American citizens and journalists,” the email continued.
Taylor said he hasn’t spoken with the ANC or the D.C. Council yet, but said he tweeted at Mayor Bowser about the sign earlier in the week. He also said he’d be “happy to speak with them.”
“A lot of people stopped today, took pictures,” he said of the sign on Tuesday.
The PAC bought twelve of the signs, including brackets and poles for them, for $280.
Taylor said he hasn’t mapped out yet what to do with the eleven other signs, but suggested places around D.C., such as outside the White House, as places to put them.
On Tuesday, Taylor stood watch over the sign until about 1 p.m., accompanied by a large inflatable rat with the likeness of President Trump. Taylor says the rat, which he got a month ago, has accompanied him to other protests the PAC has been a part of, such as the White House.
Then, he drove away, saying over the phone he isn’t sure if the sign is still there on Tuesday night.
Nonetheless, Taylor says that is has “served its purpose.”