From One Faker to Another

From The New York Times, by Michael S. Schmidt:

The Saudi royal family showered Donald J. Trump and his entourage on his first trip abroad as president with dozens of presents, including three robes made with white tiger and cheetah fur, and a dagger with a handle that appeared to be ivory.

Little that followed went right.

A White House lawyer determined that possession of the furs and dagger most likely violated the Endangered Species Act, but the Trump administration held onto them and failed to disclose them as gifts received from a foreign government.

On the last full day of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the White House handed them over to the General Services Administration — the wrong agency — rather than the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which seized the gifts this summer.

At that point, there was a surprise.

The furs, from an oil-rich family worth billions of dollars, were fake.

“Wildlife inspectors and special agents determined the linings of the robes were dyed to mimic tiger and cheetah patterns and were not comprised of protected species,” said Tyler Cherry, a spokesman for the Interior Department, which oversees the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Officials at the Saudi Embassy in Washington declined to comment.

It is unclear if the Saudis knew about the fake furs or were deceived by a supplier, but Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an expert on Saudi-U. S. relations, called the gifts highly embarrassing.

“The two most important things for them is to look like they’re aboveboard world actors, and are rich and show their wealth,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Trump did not return several messages seeking comment.

I’ve seen better faux fur at Walmart.

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