trump salman saudi arabia orb
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, Saudi King Salman, and President Donald Trump visit a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Press Agency
  • Trump White House staffers on a trip to Saudi Arabia reportedly had rooms and meals covered by their hosts.
  • Most were unaware 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 got "Rolex watches" and "ornamental swords."
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

White House staffers may have violated federal law during President Donald Trump's 2017 trip to Saudi Arabia by illegally accepting and not declaring gifts from their hosts, former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham writes in her forthcoming memoir, an early copy of which 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 would appear to run afoul of the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, but as Grisham recalls, much of the staff on hand for the former president's first foreign trip were unaware of the basic protocol.

"It was the first and only time that happened, because we came to find out that it was against the rules," Grisham continued. "I don't know if the state department ended up paying for staff rooms, but I imagine they did."

Normally, US personnel are trained to remain vigilant about foreign gifts, and must report anything worth more than $415.

"At the time we didn't know, or maybe didn't care, that it wasn't allowed and that any gifts given to us had to be reported and turned in so they could be assessed for value before we were given the option to purchase them," Grisham wrote in "I'll Take Your Questions Now."

Both the former president and first lady have condemned the book, with Melania Trump calling her former chief of staff "a deceitful and troubled individual."

"The author is desperately trying to rehabilitate her tarnished 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 scorn from Grisham in the Saudi passage of the book after she described him as "Rasputin in a slim-fitting suit."

"I have no idea what the end result was or if true, but I remember some people talking about the fact that Jared and his staff had been gifted Rolex watches, ornamental swords, and various textiles," she continued.

Read the original article on Business Insider