Trump White House failed to report 117 foreign gifts, House Democrats say
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Washington — The White House under former President Donald Trump failed to report more than 100 gifts given to him and his family by foreign governments during his time in office, and some of those gifts remain missing, according to a report released Friday by Democratic staffers on the House Oversight Committee.
The missing gifts include a “larger-than-life-sized” painting gifted to Trump by the president of El Salvador, and golf clubs from the prime minister of Japan valued at more than $7,200, the 15-page report said. A decorated box valued at $450 that was gifted to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser, is also unaccounted for, the report said.
The missing items are among 117 foreign gifts to Trump and his family valued at $291,000 that the White House failed to report to the State Department as required by federal law, according to the report. The committee staffers relied on White House and National Archives records to determine which gifts weren’t reported to the State Department.
The unreported items included gifts from Chinese President Xi Jinping, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others.
“The discovery of these unreported foreign gifts raises significant questions about why former President Trump failed to disclose these gifts to the public, as required by law,” the report said.
A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CBS News about the report.
Under the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, foreign gifts given to federal officials or their families become the property of the U.S. government if their worth exceeds a certain value. (For most of Trump’s time in office, the value was $415. It’s currently $480.) The White House is responsible for reporting gifts given to the president, vice president and their families to the State Department, which publishes a report about all gifts given to government employees every year.
The law stipulates that recipients can keep the gifts if they purchase them from the General Services Administration (GSA), but they are still required to be disclosed to the State Department. The rules are meant to prevent foreign governments from influencing U.S. officials.
Many of the foreign gifts given to Trump or his family members are still in the possession of the GSA, National Archives and other federal agencies, according to the committee’s report. Some were auctioned off to the public, and others were subsequently purchased by members of the Trump family, including a $24,000 Saudi dagger and a $13,500 vase that Kushner purchased.
The unreported gifts detailed in the committee’s findings include a $35,000 dagger with an ivory handle, a $12,400 ceramic bowl, a $12,000 silk carpet and a $12,000 saber. The dagger was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The bowl, carpet and saber are in the possession of the National Archives, which received many of the gifts once Trump left office.
The White House reported some foreign gifts given to Trump, Kushner, first lady Melania Trump and Trump’s daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump to the State Department from 2017 to 2019, but it did not report all of them, the report said. It disclosed only one gift to Kushner in 2020 and none for the rest of the Trump family.
Democrats on the committee said they would continue to investigate whether the gifts had any effect on U.S. foreign policy.