Fur coats and a dagger with ivory handle, gifts by Saudi Arabia given to former U.S. President Donald Trump, turned out to be fake. The New York Times reported on Monday that the fraudulency was discovered during an investigation into the Trump administration’s gift exchange practices.
The Saudi Arabian government gifted Trump with 82 items when he visited the country in May 2017, four months into his inauguration. These included scarves, sandals, shoes, three fur coats made of white tiger and cheetah, a dagger with an ivory handle.
At that the time, the Legal Team at the White House advised that the fur coats and white dagger may be in violation to the Endangered Species Act. However, Trump did not disclose the gifts until right before stepping down. It wasn't until January 19, 2021, the last full day of Trump's presidency, that the White House handed the robes over to the General Services Administration, who alerted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The USFWS determined that the robes were dyed to mimic tiger and cheetah patterns and the ivory contained bone of some variety. It is unknown whether the Saudi Arabian government had been aware of the fraudulency of these gift at the time they were given. “Whether this was indifference or sloppiness, it shows such a cavalier attitude to the law and the regular process of government,” sand Stanley Brand, former General Counsel, House of Representatives.
The Inspector Office at the State Department had run investigations on gifts received by key figures of the Trump administration. The 5,800-dollar bottle of whiskey that former U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo received from Japan remains unaccounted for, as does the 22-karat gold coin and a porcelain bow from Vietnam for John Bolton, Trump’s national security advisor.