A gift from El Salvador to former president Trump in November 2020 has created chaos in US’ politics. The recent report from the House Democrats has revealed that Trump and his family failed to report more than 100 foreign gift items given to them while he was in office. This included a life-size painting of Trump from the president of El Salvador.
The 15-page report, which was a result of a year-long investigation by the House Oversight Committee, showed that the Trump family did not disclose dozens of gifts from countries that are either not U.S. allies or have a complicated relationship with Washington.
A gift from El Salvador to former president Trump
The incomplete accounting practices revealed by House investigators has raised serious concerns about whether the unreported gifts may have been used by foreign governments to influence U.S. policy positions toward those countries.
El Salvador hasn’t enjoyed great relations with Joe Biden at the helm. The Biden administration has criticized Salvadorian President Nayib Bukele on several occasions. In a leaked document, Biden even called Bukele ‘Mini Trump’. Simultaneously, Bukele has constantly ridiculed the Biden administration on several occasions.
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However, this wasn’t the case when Trump was in charge of White House. The countries had amicable relations. The ties were such that recently Bukele questioned the FBI’s raid on Trump.
However, the House Report has raised the implications of the incomplete accounting practices, as well as the possibility of foreign governments like El Salvador influencing US policy.
Officials have the option of retaining a gift by paying full value, as per the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act 1966. Gifts not kept by the president or family may be sent to the Archives, Interior Department’s park service or General Services Administration. However, Trump didn’t disclose the gift items.
Ethics experts say the issues reflect a broader problem with enforcement of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which requires the president to ask Congress for permission to accept a gift from a foreigner.
But, if El Salvador has influenced US’ policies, it’d be a huge strategic win for Nayib Bukele.
As of now, Trump is in hot waters. It remains to be seen how the issue will be resolved and what implications it will have for US foreign policy.
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