"Wildlife inspectors and special agents determined the linings of the robes were dyed to mimic tiger and cheetah patterns and were not comprised of protected species."
During Donald Trump's first trip abroad as president, the ultrawealthy Saudi royal family showered him and his entourage with over 80 luxurious gifts including three robes made with white tiger and cheetah fur, and a dagger with a handle that appeared to be ivory. Although a White House lawyer determined that possession of the furs and dagger was probably a violation of the Endangered Species Act, the Trump administration held onto them and simply didn't disclose the robes as gifts received from a foreign government. Finally, on the last full day of Trump's presidency, they handed them over to the General Services Administration instead of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, reports The New York Times.
Fake tan, fake fur I think the Saudi's gifted appropriately... 😉https://t.co/ehmzAcRmsj— Chris Reinert (@firechild_uk) October 11, 2021
The New York Times revealed that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ultimately came in possession of the robes this summer after the publication asked the GSA why it had the items in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Once the robes made it to the proper agency for inspection, it was determined that the furs — from an oil-rich family worth billions of dollars — were fake. "Wildlife inspectors and special agents determined the linings of the robes were dyed to mimic tiger and cheetah patterns and were not comprised of protected species," said Tyler Cherry, a spokesman for the Interior Department, which oversees the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Trump was given fake coats of fake fur by Saudi Arabia. I believe it may have been a message to him, that they know he is a fake. Just a thought. https://t.co/OHcqNHyNye— Free-Press The-Punohu-Report (@FPPunohuReport) October 12, 2021
A dagger — given to the Trump White House in Saudi Arabia by a visiting Qatari official — was also examined. The dagger's handle "appears to possibly contain tooth or bone of some variety although additional laboratory analysis would be required to identify the species," the Interior Department said. As of now, it is unclear whether the Saudi royals knew about the fake furs or were deceived by a supplier. Either way, Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an expert on Saudi-U. S. relations, said the gifts were highly embarrassing.
The Saudi Royals gifted fake fur coats to the Trump. Fake stuff for a fake business man. Right on brand, I guess. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂— scientific realm 🧬 #Moderna 💉 (@scientificrealm) October 12, 2021
Trump Administration Mishandled Foreign Gifts: Report – Rolling Stone https://t.co/xtKKczKwTg
"The two most important things for them is to look like they're aboveboard world actors, and are rich and show their wealth," he said. News of the fake fur robes sparked a torrent of jokes targeting the Trump administration on social media.
People are assuming that the furs the Saudis gave Trump were fakes. But it's more likely that those furs were real and the furs the Trump turned over to the US govt were fakes.— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) October 12, 2021
My favorite line in the piece is this Bruce Riedel quote, “The two most important things for them is to look like they’re aboveboard world actors, and are rich and show their wealth,” because I have no idea whether he means the Saudis or the Trumps. https://t.co/glzb6FA1I7— Eric VanNewkirk (@sotsogm) October 11, 2021
"Fakes that had been dyed." Describes the lot of them. https://t.co/1PFx2FyGbr— Jo Lown 🎨🌴🌊🇺🇸 (@JLownLaw) October 11, 2021
The perfect gift for the cheapest man alive. https://t.co/qk6rtwjIHC— Gary Legum (@GaryLegum) October 11, 2021
Although gift exchanges between the United States and foreign leaders is typically a highly regulated process, this wasn't the case during the Trump administration. The State Department's inspector general is currently investigating allegations that Trump's political appointees walked off with gift bags worth thousands of dollars. The bags — which contained dozens of items purchased with government funds, including leather portfolios, pewter trays and marble trinket boxes emblazoned with the presidential seal or the signatures of the Trumps — were originally meant for foreign leaders at the Group of 7 summit planned for Camp David in 2020, which was canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
I can only imagine how smooth that whiskey went down. I've been privileged to drink fine whiskey & it is amazing. It's feels like it's been vaporized as you pull it into your mouth. You don't even feel a liquid as you swallow it. 🥃— Janice Claire 💙 Phil Murphy for NJ (@JaniceClaire14) October 11, 2021
Career officers allegedly saw Trump political appointees in the State Department's protocol office leave with the gift bags while packing up their belongings in January. When they examined the accounting of foreign gifts once the Biden administration took over, career officials discovered that more than a dozen additional presents given to Trump officials. This was unusual as government documents from the Obama and George W. Bush administrations show no unaccounted gifts given to White House officials, cabinet members, or members of the first families.
Is there something this guy can do right, someone??@DonaldJTrumpJr— Kim Vettenranta (@kimkalevi) October 11, 2021
There is also the matter of a missing $5,800 bottle of Japanese whiskey given to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — who said he never received it — and a 22-karat gold coin given to another State Department official. Furthermore, former second lady, Karen Pence, is believed to have wrongly taken two gold-toned place card holders from the prime minister of Singapore without paying for them. Additionally, the Trump administration never disclosed that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner received two swords and a dagger from the Saudis. He later paid $47,920 for them and three other gifts in February, after he leaving office. "Whether this was indifference, sloppiness or the Great Train Robbery, it shows such a cavalier attitude to the law and the regular process of government," said Stanley M. Brand, a criminal defense lawyer, ethics expert and former top lawyer for the House of Representatives.