Evan Vucci/Associated Press
- House Democrats this month said Trump failed to report over 100 gifts from foreign leaders.
- Listed among the gifts that were missing was a large portrait of Trump from El Salvador’s president.
- After a reader tip, a New York Times reporter found it in an obscure room at a Trump Hotel in Miami.
A “larger-than-life sized” painting of former President Donald Trump, gifted to him by the president of El Salvador, was among the list of foreign gifts he received that congressional Democrats said were missing — but it appears to have finally turned up at one of his hotels.
House Democrats released a report earlier this month declaring Trump had failed to report more than 100 expensive foreign gifts that he received while in office, some of which were still missing. The report said El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, presented Trump with the large portrait towards the end of his presidency, ahead of the 2020 elections.
An El Salvador official notified the White House and the State Department that the portrait was being sent, but the National Archives, which tracks foreign gifts to presidents, had no record of it. The painting was missing — but the report said “certain records suggest the portrait may have been moved to Florida as ‘property of the former President’ in July 2021.”
It turns out someone had recently spotted it.
When The New York Times profiled the Salvadoran artist behind the painting, a reader reached out to the paper with a tip. He said he had seen the painting in October while attending a golf tournament at the Trump National Doral hotel in Miami, Florida.
The man, who was unnamed, said he and his son were exploring the glamorous property when they opened up a random door with a gold handle and found the 8-foot-tall portrait that featured a smiling Trump standing in the Oval Office.
The Times sent a reporter to the hotel this week to confirm the painting’s location: and there it was next to a pile of old yoga maps, collecting dust, with its ornate gold frame resting on a crumbling, purple foam pad. It was being stored in a small area that led to electrical rooms, with doors that read: “ELECTRICAL ROOM No Storage.”
In this Nov. 20, 2019, file photo, palm trees line the entrance to Trump National Doral resort in Doral, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee, File/Associated Press
The artist, Francisco Antonio López Benavides, told the Times he was excited to hear Trump had brought the painting with him when he left office, adding: “I am happy that the painting is intact, it is beautiful, precious.”
The Trump National Doral hotel and Trump’s post-presidency office did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
Under US law, any gifts a president or federal official receives from foreign governments that are valued at more than $415 must be reported to the State Department. If an official would like to keep one of the gifts when leaving office, they are required to pay for it.
The report from House Democrats said, “the Trump Administration’s failure to disclose more than one hundred foreign gifts President Trump and his family received raises new questions about whether these and other gifts may have been used by foreign governments to influence US policy under President Trump.”
It also said an investigation would be launched to determine if any of the gifts influenced decisions made by the Trump administration.