Donald Trump’s White House failed to report more than 100 gifts from foreign nations worth more than a quarter-million dollars, according to a US government report, and several of those gifts – including a lifesize painting of Trump given by the president of El Salvador and golf clubs from the prime minister of Japan – are still unaccounted for.
The revelations came as part of a report on Friday from Democrats on the House Oversight Committee. The report details numerous unreported items, among them 16 gifts from Saudi Arabia worth more than $45,000 in all, including a dagger valued at up to $24,000, and 17 presents from India that include expensive cufflinks, a vase and a $4,600 model of the Taj Mahal.
The Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act requires that gifts above $480 given to the president, vice-president and their families by foreign officials must be reported to the state department. The report from House Democrats, citing state department records, says the number of gifts reported by Trump and his family are lower than the number disclosed by previous presidents.
The top Democrat on the committee, congressman Jamie Raskin, said the findings indicate “a brazen disregard for the rule of law and its systematic mishandling of large gifts”.
All told, the report says, though the White House did report some gifts to the state department between 2017 and 2019, it failed to report more than 100 foreign gifts with a total value of over $250,000.
The report says federal officials have not been able to locate a lifesize painting of Trump that, according to internal White House correspondence, was commissioned by the president of El Salvador and delivered to the US embassy in El Salvador as a gift to Trump just before the 2020 election. According to the report, the US ambassador to El Salvador alerted US officials about the gift and requested help in shipping it.
The report says there are “no records of the painting’s disposition” by the National Archives and Records Administration or the General Services Administration, but that some records suggest it may have been moved to Florida in July 2021 as property of Trump’s.
Thousands of dollars in golf clubs given to Trump in 2018 and 2019 by Shinzo Abe, then the prime minister of Japan, are also unaccounted for.
The report is the result of a year-long investigation into Trump’s failure to disclose foreign gifts while in office, according to the Washington Post, and runs 15 pages long.
“Today’s preliminary findings suggest again the Trump administration’s brazen disregard for the rule of law and its systematic mishandling of large gifts from foreign governments, including many lavish personalized gifts that vastly exceed the statutory limit in value but were never reported – some that are still missing today,” said Raskin in a statement.
He also said that the committee would “remain committed to following the facts to determine the extent to which former President Trump broke the law or violated the constitution when he failed to report gifts and took possession of valuable items without paying the fair market price for them.”
Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump, issued a statement claiming that “many items were received either before or after the administration”, the Post reported.
The Associated Press contributed reporting
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