Donald Trump meets with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the King David Hotel on May 22, 2017 in Jerusalem, Israel. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images.
During President Trump’s visit last year to Israel, its government provided the White House with several gifts, one of which was a portrait.
Of whom? President Trump, of course.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by TYT, the State Department’s Protocol Gift Unit released its list of gifts that Israel gave the White House during Trump’s May 2017 trip. One gift is described as a “Mother-of-pearl portrait of POTUS.” The list gives no further detail or dollar value for the portrait.
Other gifts on the list include a 100-year-old Bible encased in glass, a book of Israeli art, a Menorah, a leather-bound book of Psalms, and a “Carved wooden Madonna and Child.”
Trump’s visit to Israel was highly unusual: It was his second foreign visit as president (after Saudi Arabia), breaking a longstanding tradition wherein the incoming president first visits either Canada or Mexico.
Trump’s affinity for Israel is both unmistakable and a subject of controversy. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that, just prior to the visit, Trump increased U.S. military aid to Israel by $75 million.
NBC News also reported that, just days after Trump’s visit, the infamous private security firm Black Cube launched an operation to undermine the Iran nuclear deal. The Israeli firm allegedly sought to discredit former Obama Administration officials who had advocated for the deal. According to The Observer, which first reported on the operation, the work was paid for by unnamed Trump aides who contacted investigators for the firm days after Trump’s visit. Black Cube has denied conducting such an operation and the National Security Council declined to comment to The Observer.
More recently, Trump relocated the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move widely condemned by the international community as inflammatory. The move was cheered by American evangelicals who believe Rapture prophecy that requires Israel to have its capital in Jerusalem. As TYT reported in April, Trump’s new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, discussed his belief in Rapture theology at the CIA during his tenure there.
When Israeli security forces at the Gaza border last month killed dozens of protesters opposed to the embassy relocation, Trump’s U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, told the U.N., “No country would act with more restraint than Israel.”
The statement came amid widespread international condemnation of the killings.
Ken Klippenstein is a freelance journalist who can be reached on Twitter @kenklippenstein or via email: [email protected].
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