FOREIGN POLICY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP BUSINESS: “When President Trump sets off on his first international trip as president on Friday [5-18-17], his itinerary will include two Middle Eastern countries, Israel and Saudi Arabia, where he explored business deals before taking office.
In Israel, Mr. Trump has long sought a tower project in Tel Aviv. But he has shelved that ambition for now, given his self-imposed ban on foreign deals during his presidency and the appearances of embarking on such a venture while attempting to broker peace in the region. In Saudi Arabia, his executives scouted a hotel deal in recent years, but opted not to move forward.
Before his inauguration, Mr. Trump handed his business, the Trump Organization, over to his eldest sons and his executives. But even with that distance, Mr. Trump continues to be the face of the company that bears his name, adding an unusual dimension to his foreign tours and diplomatic outreach — with the potential that he could return again as a businessman. In fact, Mr. Trump has registered or applied for a number of trademarks in both Israel and Saudi Arabia in the last decade, according to a review of international trademark databases, in categories that cover both potential real estate development projects and consumer goods.
Also, Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law, who is expected to be part of the presidential delegation, has his own deep ties to Israel as a real estate developer and investor. His company had joined with one of Israel’s wealthiest families to buy dozens of New York apartment buildings and has borrowed money from Israel’s largest bank.”
-Steve Eder and Jesse Drucker, “Trump’s Business Ties to Middle East Precede Him,” The New York Times online, May 18, 2017