Over 100 Trump presidential gifts unaccounted for: US Democrats

Legislators say the Trump family failed to disclose $250,000 in gifts received from foreign governments while in the White House.

House Democrats accuse Donald Trump of failing to report gifts, including a gold golf driver from former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe [File: Rebecca Blackwell/The Associated Press]

A golden golf club from Japan and swords from Saudi Arabia’s royal family were among the gifts that legislators in the United States say the family of former President Donald Trump failed to disclose during his time in office.

In a statement released on Friday, Democrats on the US House Oversight Committee listed more than 100 items they allege Trump and his family did not report during his four years in the White House. The items were valued at more than $250,000.

On the list were 16 gifts from Saudi Arabia worth more than $45,000 in total — including a dagger valued at up to $24,000 — and 17 presents from India that included expensive cufflinks, a vase and a $4,600 model of the Taj Mahal.

Under the US Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, the president, vice president and their families are required to report gifts offered by foreign officials that are valued above several hundred dollars. The State Department has a Diplomatic Gift Unit to maintain records of those presents.

Representative Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the oversight panel, accused Trump and his administration of “brazen disregard for the rule of law” and a “systematic mishandling of large gifts from foreign governments”.

In a statement, Raskin promised to investigate the whereabouts of the “many lavish personalised gifts” that were never reported, adding that the panel was working to determine “whether they may have been used to influence the president in his conduct of US foreign policy”.

The list also featured a larger-than-life painting of Trump from the president of El Salvador that committee investigators believe may have been moved to Florida, where Trump owns a beachfront mansion and three golf clubs.

Also unaccounted for were thousands of dollars in golf clubs given to Trump in 2018 and 2019 by Shinzo Abe, the then-prime minister of Japan. Those included a $3,755 gold golf driver.

In a joint statement, Democrats said their report “raises significant questions about why former president Trump failed to disclose these gifts to the public, as required by federal law”.

The probe echoes a recent investigation launched by Brazilian authorities into allegations that former President Jair Bolsonaro sought to bring jewellery gifted from Saudi Arabia — valued at more than $3.2 million — into the country during his tenure without declaring it as an official gift.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro — who is closely aligned with the former US president, earning him the moniker “Tropical Trump” — was ordered to turn over a set of the jewellery that had made it past Brazil’s customs enforcement.

Trump, who is running for reelection in 2024, did not immediately respond to the Democrats’ report.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies