A massive portrait and several golf clubs gifted to former President Donald Trump by foreign leaders while in office are unaccounted for, according to a report released by House Democrats on Friday.
The missing gifts are among more than 100 – worth nearly $300,000 – that Trump and his family failed to disclose, as required by law, the interim staff report by House Oversight Committee Democrats notes.
During its year-long investigation, the committee discovered White House emails referencing a “larger than-life-sized painting” of Trump commissioned by Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele.
The work of art was delivered to the US Embassy in El Salvador just prior to the 2020 election, and on Nov. 19, 2020, US Ambassador to the Republic of El Salvador Ronald Johnson notified the White House Gift Office and State Department Diplomatic Gift Unit about the painting and asked for help shipping it to the then-president.
“There are no records of the painting’s disposition. [The National Archives and Records Administration] had no records of this painting and [the General Services Administration] also had no records for the purchase of this gift,” the report found.
The report adds that “certain records suggest the portrait may have been moved to Florida as ‘property of the former President’ in July 2021.”
Federal law prohibits government officials from keeping personal gifts from foreign governments worth more than $415.
Gifts over this amount become property of the US and are stored by NARA, but recipients have the option to purchase them back from the GSA.
The report notes that Trump’s director of correspondence during the presidential transition certified “full compliance with the final disposition of gifts” in April 2021.
Also missing are golf clubs valued at more than $7,000 that Trump received from the late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, including a $3,755 gold driver he received as president-elect, a putter valued at $460 and another driver worth $3,040, according to the report.
“NARA has no records of these golf clubs and does not have the golf clubs in its custody. GSA also has no records of the golf clubs being purchased.
The Committee is still seeking to determine the final disposition of these gifts,” House investigators found.
The Oversight Committee Democrats argue that undisclosed gifts create concerns about “potential undue influence,” highlighting $45,000 worth of gifts from Saudi Arabia, $47,000 worth of gifts from India and $3,400 worth of gifts from China that the Trump family failed to properly report but are now in the custody of NARA or have be purchased back from the government.
Among the items Trump family members legally bought back from the government to hold on to are a $24,000 dagger and sheath given to Trump’s son-in-law and former White House adviser Jared Kushner by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and a limited edition Steiff teddy bear gifted to the former president’s daughter and ex-adviser Ivanka Trump by the chancellor of Austria.
“We’ve been able to piece all of this together through independent sources, but there could be a lot more given that none of these gifts have been reported and we’ve only found out about them through different kinds of investigative work and accidents,” Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, told the Washington Post.
Raskin declined to say whether the panel would make a criminal referral to the Justice Department.
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