President-elect Donald Trump registered eight companies in Saudi Arabia during his presidential campaign that appear to be related to hotel interests in that country.
The companies were registered in August, 2015, less than two months after launching his presidential campaign, according to The Washington Post. The companies were registered under names such as THC Jeddah Hotel and DT Jeddah Technical Services, according to financial disclosure filings.
The names are apparently similar in pattern to how Trump named other companies connected to hotel deals registered in foreign cities, according to the Post. He names companies after cities in the state with which he is dealing. Jiddah, also spelled Jeddah, is the second largest city in Saudi Arabia and is located on the Red Sea coast about 60 miles from the Muslim holy city of Mecca.
Trump has said in the past that he wants to protect Saudi Arabia. During a rally on August 21, he said that he gets along well with the Arab country. That’s the same day that he launched four of the companies in question. “They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”
That statement goes to the heart of the issues surrounding Trump serving as president while he has such financial incentives. Whether a president likes or dislikes a foreign government should not be directly related to his personal financial stake. Critics claim that the problem is no less significant if Trump’s children take over the business interests as Trump has said repeatedly during the campaign.
The foreign — and domestic — financial entanglements are also in direct conflict with statements he made during the campaign where he railed against ‘pay to play’ schemes. It is hard to imagine how Trump can honestly govern if he — and his children — stand to personally gain (or lose) billions from foreign countries depending on his decisions.
In the rally, Trump said “I would want to protect Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia is going to have to help us economically. They were making before the oil went down … they were making $1 billion a day.” Many are concerned how much the billions that the Trump Organization stands to make economically would affect Trump’s policy toward the Arab nation.