[T]he latest to draw the ire of Donald J. Trump, the bombastic Republican candidate, on Twitter is Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, who lobbed the first critique on Friday:
.@realDonaldTrump You are a disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America. Withdraw from the U.S presidential race as you will never win.— ?????? ?? ???? (@Alwaleed_Talal) December 11, 2015
Mr. Trump, as is his style, responded combatively, with an insult:
Mr. Trump’s recent call for a “complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration to the United States, after recent attacks in Paris and California that were inspired by the Islamic State, has brought him criticism from many in the Middle East and has cost him financially.
But Mr. Alwaleed’s insult may have stung a little deeper. During Mr. Trump’s period of financial distress in the early 1990s, when a debt of more than $900 million forced Mr. Trump to carve up some of his empire, the prince snapped up two jewels of the Trump brand: the Plaza Hotel in New York and Mr. Trump’s 281-foot-yacht, known as “Trump Princess.”
For Mr. Trump, the criticism from Mr. Alwaleed validated the attitude he has been taking toward Saudi Arabia during his campaign. In August, he said that the country should “pay us” for military protection. He frequently mentions in his stump speech that some of the Sept. 11 hijackers sent their families back to Saudi Arabia before the attacks — a claim that, like a number of other assertions he has made, has been found to be lacking in truth. On Tuesday, he accused the country of sending money to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in an interview on MSNBC.
“Some of our so-called allies that we work with and we protect and we protect them militarily, they’re sending massive amounts of money to ISIS and to Al Qaeda and to others, O.K.?” Mr. Trump said in the interview.
When pressed on if Saudi Arabia was one of the countries he was talking about, Mr. Trump replied: “Of course they’re doing it. Everybody knows that.”