President Donald Trump claimed on Tuesday that he has no financial ties to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but close analysis proves that this is demonstrably untrue.
"For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter)," Trump asserted in a tweet. "Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!"
For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter). Any suggestion that I h… https://t.co/O5uI7mY3pQ— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1539695718.0
Even Fox News, which is notorious for being the president's favorite cable news network, fact-checked Trump's tweet via their Fox News Research Twitter handle:
Trump & Saudi Business: •1991: Sold yacht to Saudi Prince •2001: Sold 45th floor of Trump World Tower to Saudis •Ju… https://t.co/LNRyLGKxii— Fox News Research (@Fox News Research) 1539699039.0
Let's assess each of these points.
"•1991: Sold yacht to Saudi Prince"
In 1991, Trump was deeply in debt following a string of bankruptcies of his Atlantic City casinos. He sold his yacht, the Trump Princess, to Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who paid somewhere between $18 and $20 million for the vessel. Trump took a near $10 million loss on the boat, which he had purchased from the Sultan of Brunei in 1989.
Bin Talal was part of the same group of investors that bought the Plaza Hotel in New York in 1995 after Trump bankrupted it.
"•2001: Sold 45th floor of Trump World Tower to Saudis"
In 2001, the New York Daily News reported that the Saudi government purchased the 45th floor of Trump World Tower in New York for $4.5 million. Trump would collect an additional $5.7 million in fees between 2001 and 2016.
"•Jun 2015: 'I love the Saudis...many in Trump Tower'"
Trump uttered these worse during the kickoff of his White House bid in 2015. Earlier that year, Trump said: “I make a lot of money from them... they buy all sorts of my stuff. All kinds of toys from Trump. They pay me millions and hundreds of millions.”
"•Aug 2015: 'They buy apartments from me...Spend $40M-$50M'"
"I get along great with all of them; they buy apartments from me," Trump said at a campaign rally in Mobile, Alabama in 2015. "They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much!"
Then-candidate Trump also registered eight businesses in Saudi Arabia in August 2015, mere weeks after launching his White House bid.
"•2017: Saudi lobbyists spent $270K at Trump DC hotel"
The Washington Post reported in May that between October 2016 and March 2017, "Qorvis MSLGroup, a lobbyist for the Saudi government, spent around $270,000 at the hotel during several months lobbying over U.S. terrorism legislation, according to public filings."
The District of Columbia and Maryland are currently suing Trump for violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which forbids presidents from accepting gifts from “any King, Prince or foreign state." The lawsuit states that this should include profits from Trump's many businesses.
Like Fox, the public wasn't fooled by Trump's easily-disprovable falsehood either.
@realDonaldTrump “Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million,… https://t.co/4ZUMVeBIHp— BallsOut (@BallsOut) 1539699258.0
@realDonaldTrump Don Jr in 2008: “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.”… https://t.co/p6JlwVDuGL— Tiger Wiese Jones🌎☮️❤️ (@Tiger Wiese Jones🌎☮️❤️) 1539713305.0
@realDonaldTrump ... The Russians, they meddled...but China did too! The killers were Saudis...or Armed Rogues! Wh… https://t.co/pkWNvQlfLU— T-Rump the T-Rex (@T-Rump the T-Rex) 1539713836.0
@realDonaldTrump What @realDonaldTrump failed to mention is that the Saudis and Russians have LOTS of financial interests in HIM!— Dudley's Mom (@Dudley's Mom) 1539716513.0
@realDonaldTrump Really? That’s not what you said during the campaign? Guess that was just a lie too!— Ryan Hill (@Ryan Hill) 1539695753.0
@RyanHillMI @realDonaldTrump Fun fact without the Saudi’s trump hotels would be bankrupt— Impeach trump (@Impeach trump) 1539696188.0
@realDonaldTrump Disclose your tax returns and investments. Why are you letting permanent US Residents get assas… https://t.co/JlvcBf3298— 🌊 TJ 🛡 (@🌊 TJ 🛡) 1539722631.0
@realDonaldTrump Fuck you— jon rosenberg 🤓🌿 (@jon rosenberg 🤓🌿) 1539695738.0
Fox News had their day in the Sun too. Turns out Twitter really appreciates when news organizations do their job.
Not Trump though, he won't be too happy about Fox correcting him.
@FoxNewsResearch Omg - you are gonna be in so much trouble when @POTUS finds out someone at @FoxNews fact checked him on something.— The 305 Pizzazz Pirate ☮💜 🏴☠️ (@The 305 Pizzazz Pirate ☮💜 🏴☠️) 1539706119.0
@JosephPSimonLaw @305Pirate @FoxNewsResearch @POTUS @FoxNews if they call you into the bosses office and you see 15… https://t.co/SXa38HHeiS— Jason chapman (@Jason chapman) 1539710810.0
@al3xandrovich3 @MollyJongFast @FoxNewsResearch 2016: Trump registers EIGHT new companies in Saudi Arabia. Early 2… https://t.co/YYEh87sWuR— justin (@justin) 1539712484.0
@FoxNewsResearch I think @FoxNews has been hacked. Thank you for tweeting these facts. Even if it's only for today.— Mary Francis (@Mary Francis) 1539707254.0
@lovethydog9 @FoxNewsResearch @FoxNews Yes, we should thank media outlets when they state facts. And journalists sh… https://t.co/EHaiE71qZl— Do Not Congratulate. (@Do Not Congratulate.) 1539708757.0
@FoxNewsResearch Can someone please check the temperature in Hell today? I think it might have froze over.— Mike Beckett (@Mike Beckett) 1539706849.0
@FoxNewsResearch https://t.co/IH0kkHrhrh— Caz Lazz (@Caz Lazz) 1539706243.0
@FoxNewsResearch Wow. Look at Fox reporting some fact-based research. Good job👍— #DonTheCon (@#DonTheCon) 1539707319.0
@FoxNewsResearch More of this. Enough coddling this guy. He's gotta be accountable to someone, even if it's not his base.— Shane McFarland (@Shane McFarland) 1539706522.0
@FoxNewsResearch FAKE NEWS! Oh, wait. This is Fox? I need Fox to tell me how to respond to this.— Sista MaryJane Yummypants (@Sista MaryJane Yummypants) 1539716278.0
Monetarily, however, all of Trump's previous financial relationships with Saudi Arabia pale in comparison to the behemoth $110 billion arms deal Trump struck with the Saudis last year.
Trump has boasted that it would create 500,000 or so jobs through the various private defense contractors involved.
Many of these companies pulled out of meeting with the Saudis following the assassination of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, who was tortured and murdered at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey earlier this month.
Though 15 Saudi operatives carried out the killing, which included wielding a bone saw to hack Khashoggi to pieces, the Saudi government, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has denied any official involvement. They claim Khashoggi's death was an accident resulting from a "botched interrogation.
Incredibly, Khashoggi's interrogation, torture, and murder were recorded on his Apple Watch and retrieved by Turkish officials.
Trump has stood by Saudi denials, suggesting that "rogue killers" somehow snuck into the Saudi Consulate and carried out the attack.
Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened “to our Saudi Arabian… https://t.co/sk2TDkyiwF— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1539607025.0
The president has committed to seeing the arms deal to its completion, but as he likes to say, "we'll see what happens."