“For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter),” President Donald Trump tweeted this morning, adding “Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!”
This as the Saudi Consul General up and fled Istanbul before Turkey sent forensic specialists to his residence as it probes the murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia is expected to change its “stout denial” strategy and admit it murdered the journalist in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, but insist it was an accident during a botched interrogation/kidnap plan, which somehow is supposed to make it better.
Plus, the team that flew into Turkey to “interrogate” Khashoggi included medical folk, and then there’s reports of a bone saw, which would seem to contradict the “accident” storyline.
Meanwhile, the biggest disseminator of news about Trump’s Saudi financial interests has been Trump.
While campaigning in 2015, for instance, he boasted about his business dealings with the Saudis, saying, “Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.” Loads of video on that, so not so much “fake news.”
And, Trump’s hotel in New York City this year reversed a two-year trend of declining rental revenue after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage booked rooms there, The Washington Post reported. A spokeswoman for Trump International Hotel confirmed the information, telling WaPo, “The uptick in business specific to Trump International Hotel & Tower New York in March was due to the compression in New York driven by the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince to the City.”
Trump’s Chicago hotel, meanwhile, is enjoying a 169% increase in visits by Saudis since 2016, the newspaper reported.
In 2001, the Saudi government bought the 45th floor of the Trump World Plaza building in New York City as part of its mission to the United Nations.
Before he took up residence in the White House, Trump pursued deals with Saudi investors in an effort to build hotels in that country. In 2015 Trump registered new corporations to manage a prospective hotel in Jeddah.