Saudi royals gave Trump tiger and cheetah furs as gifts. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says they were fake
The New York Times has a new story about the Trump administration's lax policies on foreign gift-giving, and it may not surprise you to know that Team Griftabout was just as indifferent to this particular bit of the Constitution as they were all the others. Accepting gifts from foreign leaders (or foreign anybodies) is strictly barred in the Constitution if you're an elected official, due to its close proximation to bribery; as such, the process of receiving such gifts is complex and bureaucratic and requires either paying for the things received (seldom done) or handing them over to the federal government as official federal government property.
You can see immediately why these rules would especially grate for the team of unapologetic grifters and grubbers that make up Trump's inner circle. And family. And general reason for existing. True to form, the Times reports the last administration was frequently sloppy about the whole process. Yes, yes, we'll all need a minute to recover from the shock. Have you recovered yet? Good, let's move on.
There are two tidbits the Times sussed out that are particularly intriguing. The first deals not with gifts from foreign leaders but gifts intended for foreign leaders. You might remember that Trump was originally scheduled to host a G7 summit at Camp David last year; that summit had to be canceled due to the runaway COVID-19 pandemic. In preparation for the meeting, the government prepared "gift bags worth thousands of dollars" to present to each foreign leader, the sort of high-value knickknacks that pass as diplomatic flattery in these circles.
In the last days of the Trump administration, "many" of those still-undelivered bags, as well as other presents, were missing. Allegedly, "career officers" in the State Department "saw their departing colleagues leave with" them.
However, the Times reports that at least some of the contents of the gift bags featured Donald or Melania's signatures, which probably drops their actual value to approximately that of a Mars Bar or a half-finished coffee. Who's going to want a "marble trinket box" with Donald Trump's name plastered on it? It's like a little coffin of shattered dreams.
Anyhoo, all of this is building up to the good part, and there is a good part and we're only getting to it now because we all know it's coming but needed to get in a comfy spot so we can savor it properly. Amongst the more problematic gifts received by Donald Trump and associates was an approximate crapload of swag given by the Saudi royal family in appreciation of Donald making Saudi Arabia the destination of his first foreign "presidential" trip.
Featured in the haul were "three robes made with white tiger and cheetah fur," as well as a dagger that "appeared" to have an ivory handle. Very illegal! Not good! The United States does not allow the trafficking of materials made out of endangered species!
Naturally, the Trump administration did jack-squat with this information, failed to properly disclose them as required, and eventually handed them over to the General Services Administration on Trump's last full day in office. (Why it couldn't have been done before then is a mystery; was the Trump team still looking for ways to keep the furs, along with the presidency, even on the team's very last day?) The Times reports that the gifts were eventually (properly) seized by U.S. Fish and Wildlife this summer, and that—good news, everybody!—it turns out they were fake.
Yeah, that's right. The Saudi royal family, the ultra-wealthy murderous dictators whose lifestyle consists of extravagant spending and a bunch of other things that they consider it illegal for anyone to bring up, gave Donald Trump fake tiger and cheetah pelts. It was a dye job.
And this is perfect. Couldn't possibly have ended in a better way.
What is Donald Trump, after all, other than a fake rich person? He is a reality show host whose incompetent burbles were famously edited into a reality show about bein' rich and bein' decisive, but the man's wealth is a small fraction of what he claims it to be, and his idea of "luxury" appears to be eating Big Macs inside rooms that have been spray-painted gold and adorned with plaques claiming imaginary things happened there.
They didn't give Trump the expensive pelts of endangered big cats. They gave him expensive-looking fakes, knowing he'd be pleased as punch with expensive-looking fakes. (And it's not clear the "ivory" dagger is actually ivory, either.)
Sure, then. We'll go with that. Finally, a bit of good news: There are at least two endangered animals out there that were not killed for the sake of this now-sedition-backing buffoon's pleasure centers. It was all fake, like Trump himself was.
Not the most important thing in the world, to be sure. But it's fun to remind ourselves that even the foreign leaders who were most obsequious towards Trump had his number from day one. Faker.
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