Trump's Saudi ‘Fur Gifts’ Violated US Laws, Were Embarrassing Fakes!

Published October 14th, 2021 - 10:42 GMT
Trump (L) Saudi King
Saudi King Salman (L) greets Donald Trump when he visited Saud Arabia in May 2017 (AFP File Folder)

ALBAWABA – Donald Trump is back in the news. Is he ever away you might say? Controversy seems to follow the man everywhere. But the former US president is definitely, well, not accident prone as such, but has a knack for attracting problems to put it mildly!

This time it’s the gifts he and his entourage received from the Saudi Royal Family when he, with his wife Melania, visited the Kingdom back in May 2017. It was his first foreign visit and his guests were so delighted with the fact it was Saudi Arabia, they showered him and his team with 82 luscious mainly gifts. The story was first dished out by The New York Times.

Most of these were fair game and there were no improprieties but at least nine of them were considered much more expensive than the US government limit allows for keeping which is around $400. But that’s not the issue for Trump and somehow this is a rolling story carried out by most media outlets.

In addition to the swords, daggers and a painting of himself, some of the gifts Trump got were three robes “made with white tiger and cheetah furs” and these were stashed in the White House until his final day in office on 19 January 2021 when they were handed to the US General Services Administration (GSA). After examination it alerted the US Fish and Wildlife Department to look into the possible violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Here, the blood thickens. First thing, why didn’t Trump hand over the gifts once he got back from the Saudi trip. These would be considered fairly expensive certainly much more than $400. This, plus the fact the furs were turned out to be fake after testing! They were dyed to make them of value and expensive.

From quality robes to fake inexpensive one, it got the social media going. The gifts certainly turned out to be a storm in a tea cup. The GSA needn’t have worried about hiding things in the back but it turned out to be a major embarrassment for the Saudis who say they didn’t know these were fake items. It was a double embarrassment for Trump as well.

On that trip, word has it many of the American personnel got presents like expensive gifts which might be considered traditional for the Saudis. Jared Kushner, the man in charge of the so-called Mideast peace file at the time was also pampered. He was given a book titled ‘The Jews of Singapore’ valued at $575 which meant he had to declare it. Quoting The New York Times, the Daily Mail stated he was given two swords and a dagger which were valued at $48,000 which he paid the government for after he left office.

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