Oct. 12, 2018 – As the world watches to see how the Trump administration will respond to the growing diplomatic crisis surrounding the fate of journalist Jamal Khashoggi – who has been missing since visiting the Saudi consulate in Turkey earlier this month – we again are reminded of how the lines between government policy and Trump family business interests are so blurred that it’s virtually impossible to know the real motivations for Trump administration policy.
Public Citizen has tracked how much foreign governments, among others, have spent at the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C. The organization also has been vocal about conflicts of interest created by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s family business as well as Ivanka Trump’s clothing line.
Trump never divested his interests after taking office; he just moved them to the control of his sons. It’s no wonder that foreign governments and giant corporations alike can’t distinguish between Trump and Kushner private family business and government policy.
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- The Saudi embassy has spent at least $270,000 at Trump’s Washington hotel (PDF) since the November 2016 election;
- In 2001, Trump sold the 45th floor of the Trump World Tower to the Saudis;
- In the years before becoming president, Trump pursued deals with Saudi investors to build hotels in Saudi Arabia;
- In August 2015, then-candidate Trump registered new corporations to manage a prospective hotel in the Saudi city of Jeddah;
- In 2015, Trump boasted about his business dealings with the Saudis. “Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them,” Trump said. “They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”; and
- In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries cut ties with Qatar and imposed a blockade. Trump overtly sided with Saudi Arabia. Jared Kushner reportedly advocated for this position. A month earlier, the Kushner family business reportedly had been unsuccessful in obtaining financing from Qatar for a distressed New York skyscraper.