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Saudi Arabia reportedly gave Trump fake tiger, cheetah fur robes and people can't stop laughing

"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."

Saudi Arabia reportedly gave Trump fake tiger, cheetah fur robes and people can't stop laughing
Cover Image Source: Donald Trump meets with Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, at the White House, March 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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.


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 β€” from an oil-rich family worth billions of dollars β€” 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.


A dagger β€” given to the Trump White House in Saudi Arabia by a visiting Qatari official β€” 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 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. 






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 β€” 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 β€” 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.


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.


There is also the matter of a missing $5,800 bottle of Japanese whiskey given to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo β€” who said he never received it β€” 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.

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