The Saudis Gave Donald Trump Fake Gifts
Donald Trump’s first foreign trip as the President of the United States in May of 2017 was to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where he mingled and dined with the Saudi royal family and presumably paid lip service to the nation’s vast reserves of crude oil. They also posed for the super creepy orb moment pictured below.
As is traditional, The New York Times pointed out on Monday, the Saudis presented Trump “with dozens of presents, including three robes made with white tiger and cheetah fur, and a dagger with a handle that appeared to be ivory.”
But there were some problems, the paper reported, based on documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.
For starters, the Times learned that “a White House lawyer determined that possession of the furs and dagger most likely violated the Endangered Species Act, but the Trump administration held onto them and failed to disclose them as gifts received from a foreign government.”
The documents also revealed that “on the last full day of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the White House handed them over to the General Services Administration — the wrong agency — rather than the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which seized the gifts this summer. At that point, there was a surprise,” wrote the Times. “The furs, from an oil-rich family worth billions of dollars, were fake.”
“It is unclear if the Saudis knew about the fake furs or were deceived by a supplier, but Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an expert on Saudi-U. S. relations, called the gifts highly embarrassing,” explained correspondent Michael Schmidt.
“The two most important things for them is to look like they’re aboveboard world actors, and are rich and show their wealth,” said Riedel.
The less amusing story embedded within the Times’s exposé, however, is that Trump and members of his corrupt Cabinet routinely failed to disclose gifts that they received to the appropriate federal agencies.