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 have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2018
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
•Jun 2015: I love the Saudis…many in Trump Tower
•Aug 2015: "They buy apartments from me…Spend $40M-$50M"
•2017: Saudi lobbyists spent $270K at Trump DC hotel
— Fox News Research (@FoxNewsResearch) October 16, 2018
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.