When American real estate mogul Donald Trump agreed to lease part of his private estate to a group of Libyan investors in late 2009, chances are he wasn’t aware they’d be bringing Libyan dictator Mummar Gaddafi in for a prolonged stay.
In fact, at the time he sternly denied any knowledge about Gaddafi’s involvement in the deal, even as the Libyan leader’s tent was being pitched on Trump’s Bedford, New York estate.
But today, with a U.S.-led coalition bombing Libya, Trump isn’t claiming ignorance. In fact, its quite the opposite: he’s bragging about taking the dictator’s money.
Speaking to Fox News this morning, the likely 2012 GOP candidate said that he had more foreign policy experience than other Republican contenders because he once “screwed” Gaddafi on a land deal.
“I think I probably have more experience of anybody, whether I sell them real estate for tremendous amounts of money,” he said. “I mean, I’ve dealt with everybody.”
“And by the way, I can tell you something else,” the billionaire added. “I dealt with Gaddafi. I rented him a piece of land. He paid me more for one night than the land was worth for two years, and then I didn’t let him use the land.”
Indeed, the embattled Libyan leader was forced to take down the tent pitched on Trump’s estate, but only after local officials claimed the structure was in violation of the law. Gaddafi didn’t actually get a chance to use it, reports said, and he never actually set foot on Trump’s land.
“We have requested that the tenant occupying the property in Bedford, N.Y. remove the tent that was erected,” the Trump Organization told ABC News just hours before Gaddafi was expected to arrive. “They have complied with this request. Additionally, Mr. Gadhafi will not be going to the property.”
Other known individuals who’ve taken money from Gaddafi include artists Nelly Furtado, Mariah Carey, Usher, 50 Cent and Beyoncé, who were paid millions for private performances. They’ve all made donations to various charities in amounts equal to Gaddafi’s payments.
Trump had not specified how much he took when he “dealt with Gaddafi,” nor has he stated that any charitable donations were made to compensate for accepting money from a dictator accused of sponsoring terrorism.
This video is from Fox News, broadcast Monday, March 21, 2011.
This video is from Voice of America News, published Sept. 24, 2009.
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.