Saudi Arabia spent a king’s fortune on gifts for President Obama and his family in 2014.
The State Department said Saudi King Abdullah and top kingdom officials spent $1.35 million on Obama in 2014. The figure was released with its annual list of gifts from foreign governments on Wednesday.
Some of the luxury items sent to Obama include a gold and silver wristwatch valued at $18,400, and a “48-inch gold-plated brass replica of the Makkah Clock Tower” valued at $57,000, Yahoo News reported Friday.
Malia and Sasha Obama also received jewelry, earrings and a watch from the Saudi government valued at $80,000.
News of Saudi Arabia’s gift-giving blitz comes just one month after the Obama administration rejected the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. TransCanada Corp sought a presidential permit to send more than 800,000 barrels per day to the U.S.
“The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy,” Obama said during a Washington press conference Nov. 9, Reuters reported.
Obama previously vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act in February. He met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud weeks before the decision.
“Obama’s veto is bad news for U.S. workers and U.S. energy security,” said Dan Kish, vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, the Daily Caller reported Feb. 24. “It is good news for the new Saudi King, especially if this is what the president promised him when they recently met.”
U.S. law requires presidents to pay a fair-market value for gifts or turn them over to the National Archives or other institutions for storage or display, Yahoo News reported.
The State Department said “non-acceptance [of gifts] would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. government.”