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Thursday 17 October 2019

Foreign leaders’ diplomatic gifts to Trump and family revealed

All the gifts to Donald Trump, his wife, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner were turned over to the National Archives.

President Donald Trump (Evan Vucci/AP)
President Donald Trump (Evan Vucci/AP)

By Matthew Lee, Associated Press

Foreign leaders showered US President Donald Trump and his family with more than 140,000 dollars (£106,000) worth of gifts during their first year in the White House.

China and Saudi Arabia were among the most lavish givers, according to the State Department’s annual accounting of such gifts.

Chinese President Xi Jinping gave Mr Trump and first lady Melania Trump the two most expensive presents in 2017: an ornate calligraphy display and presentation box worth 14,400 dollars (£10,931) and a porcelain dinnerware set that includes plates imprinted with the pink house at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort worth 16,250 dollars (£12,336).

Like all of the other gifts to Mr Trump, his wife, daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, those were turned over to the National Archives.

The Saudis and Gulf Arab states gave at least 24,120 dollars (£18,310) in gifts to the Trumps.

Melania Trump (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Those included a 6,400 dollar (£4,858) ruby and emerald pendant necklace from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, a gold-plated fighter jet model worth 4,850 dollars (£3,681) from Bahrain’s crown prince, a 3,700 dollar (£2,808) bronze statue of three oryx from the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, a set of gold-plated Kuwaiti coins worth 1,610 dollars (£1,222) from Kuwait’s emir and “royal” perfume in a reptile skin carrying case worth 1,260 dollars (£956) from the deputy prime minister of Oman.

Others in the Middle East did not stint when it came to presents for the first family, according to the 64-page list compiled by the State Department’s Office of Protocol, which is to be published in the Federal Register on Thursday.

The Trumps received a personalised hardcover book of Psalms worth 4,500 dollars (£3,415) from the rabbi in charge of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a gold and diamond necklace and similar pendant from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre valued at 5,800 dollars (£4,402) and a mother-of-pearl Nativity scene worth 4,200 dollars (£3,188) from the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem.

Even Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, before the Trump administration started a series of moves to downgrade US relations with the Palestinians, was generous.

He gave Mr Trump and the first lady a copy of a neo-Byzantine Nativity scene, a half-length portrait of Mrs Trump and photograph with a total estimated value of 6,770 dollars (£5,139), according to the list.

Other world leaders who have fallen from Mr Trump’s favour were among the 2017 gift-givers, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Canada’s Justin Trudeau.

Donald Trump with Emmanuel Macron (Matt Cardy/PA)

Mrs Merkel gave the Trumps Mont Blanc pens and paper worth 5,264 dollars (£3,995); Mr Macron a map from 1783 of the United States worth 1,100 dollars (£835) and Mr Trudeau a sandstone statue of a male lion wearing a crown valued at 450 dollars (£341).

Some gifts seemed designed to appeal to the president’s ego.

Those included an 1,880 dollar (£1,427) gemstone portrait of Mr Trump in front of an American flag from Vietnam’s prime minister, and a photo album titled President Donald J Trump in New York from Poland’s president that contains black and white photographs of the president and polychrome photos of Trump Tower and was valued at 850 dollars (£645).

Clothing, art, jewellery and accessories were favourite gifts to the first lady from foreign leaders.

The wife of Japan’s prime minister gave her a 2,200 dollar (£1,670) pair of Mikimoto diamond and pearl earrings and a 3,000 dollar (£2,277) gold and acrylic painting, while Italy’s prime minister gave her a 3,400 dollar (£2,580) Ferragamo handbag.

Belgium’s prime minister and his partner gave Mrs Trump two handbags from the designer Delvaux worth 1,020 dollars (£774) and 2,273 dollars (£1,725).

Ivanka Trump (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Ivanka Trump also got a Delvaux handbag from the Belgian leader that was worth 1,023 dollars (£776).

Meanwhile, the Saudi government gave Melania and Ivanka Trump embroidered garments, including at least one abaya, worth 1,500 dollars (£1,138).

Mr Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s husband, reported receiving only six gifts from foreign officials in 2017, the most valuable of which was a 3,630 dollar (£2,755) fountain pen given to him by Jordan’s king.

PA Media

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