Even though Obama has to pay for anything he wants to keep, it’s still a bribe in my book.
Throughout 2014, Saudi King Abdullah and top kingdom officials spent a fortune on gifts for Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters — roughly $1.35 million on the list.
The accounting was made public the day before Thanksgiving, with Americans poised to dive into the gift-buying season.
The first thing to know is that these gifts aren’t bribes (wink, wink). If Obama wants to keep anything he gets from another world leader, he has to pay fair market value for it and take it with him when he leaves office. Otherwise, U.S. law stipulates that the president must turn over everything to the National Archives or other institutions for storage or display.
Obama is wealthy — book sales and investments, on top of a $400,000 annual salary, have made the onetime college professor financially quite comfortable. But it’s hard to imagine him putting up the cash to keep the “gold and silver men’s wristwatch with leather band,” valued at $18,400, that he received from the Saudi king on Jan. 14, 2014. Or the $67,000 needed to own another timepiece, a “white gold men’s wristwatch with leather band,” that the monarch gave him on April 15, 2014 (no word on whether it was inscribed “happy tax day”). And then there was the “48-inch gold-plated brass replica of the Makkah Clock Tower on marble base,” presented March 28, 2014, and coming in at a cool $57,000, roughly what a median American family earns in a year.
Impressive? Not when compared to the gifts the Saudi king, who died in 2015, gave Michelle Obama.
On Jan. 14, 2014, Barack Obama might have been admiring the watch he wasn’t going to keep, but the first lady got a “diamond and emerald jewelry set including necklace, earrings, ring and bracelet.” Value? $560,000.
On April 15, 2014, she received an identically described set, but this one was worth $570,000.
Malia and Sasha weren’t left off the Saudi king’s list. On Jan. 14, 2014, they received “diamond and emerald jewelry set including earrings, necklace, ring, brooch, and wristwatch. Diamond and ruby jewelry set including earrings, necklace, ring, brooch, and wristwatch.” Price tag: $80,000.
So did the Saudi King give the gifts to the First Family out of the kindness of his heart? Of course not They’re bribes, nobody gives stuff like that unless they expect something in return.
Read more: Blur Brain