- Trump White House staffers on a trip to Saudi Arabia reportedly had rooms and meals covered by their hosts.
- Most were unaware that this was a violation of federal law, according to former White House aide Stephanie Grisham.
- Grisham wrote that she heard Jared Kushner and his staff get “Rolex watches” and “ornamental swords”.
White House staffers may have violated federal law during President Donald Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia in 2017 by illegally accepting and not declaring gifts from their hosts, writes former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham in her forthcoming memoir, as an early copy was obtained by Insider.
“The rooms were paid for by the Saudi government,” Grisham wrote, “and we were told we could order anything we wanted on the room service menu.”
This appears to be in violation of the law on foreign gifts and decorations, but as Grisham recalls, much of the staff available for the former president’s first foreign trip was unaware of the basic protocol.
“It was the first and only time that happened because we found out it was against the rules,” Grisham continued. “I do not know if the State Department ended up paying for staff rooms, but I imagine they did.”
Typically, U.S. personnel are trained to be on guard against foreign gifts and must report anything in excess of $ 415.
“At the time, we knew, or perhaps we did not care, that it was not allowed and that gifts given to us had to be reported and delivered so that they could be valued before we had the opportunity to purchase them,” Grisham wrote in ” I’m taking your questions now. “
Both the former president and first lady have condemned the book, calling Melania Trump her former chief of staff “a fraudulent and troubled person.”
“The author is desperately trying to rehabilitate his dilapidated reputation by manipulating and distorting the truth about Mrs. Trump,” Melania’s office said in a statement.
Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and one of the most influential figures in his administration, received another dose of ridicule from Grisham in the Saudi passage of the book after she described him as “Rasputin in a slim fit.”
“I have no idea what the end result was or if it was true, but I do remember some people talking about Jared and his staff getting Rolex watches, ornamental swords and various textiles,” she continued.