Trump and former administration officials did not report gifts from foreign leaders before they left office, which is illegal.
The Trump administration left office without providing the State Department with an accounting of the gifts former President Donald J. Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, and other White House officials received from foreign governments in 2020, the department disclosed late Friday.
The department said that as a result, it could not fully account for the gifts officials received, the latest example to emerge in recent months of how the Trump administration’s flouting of laws and norms about the day-to-day operations of government now makes it harder to determine whether anything improper took place.
The President and other executive branch officials are not allowed to keep gifts from foreign governments.
The Reagan Library has an explanation of the rules governing presidents and gifts, “Even though heads of state have traditionally exchanged gifts as expressions of goodwill, the Constitution (Article I, Section 9) prohibits anyone in the US Government from receiving a personal gift from a foreign head of state without the consent of Congress. Today, the handling of gifts from a foreign official to any Federal Government employee, including the President, is largely governed by the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act of 1966 and further legislation passed in 1977.”
The gifts are considered gifts to the people of the United States. They are usually turned over to the National Archives, and some of them end up in presidential libraries, but they are not under any circumstances to be kept by a president or members of the administration.
Trump and members of his administration received gifts in 2020 from foreign governments and by not reporting them, committed theft.
There were reports that Trump and his team were looting the White House on their way out the door. If Trump or any of his officials kept gifts from foreign governments, it is not only corrupt. It’s theft.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association