According to a New York Times report, President Donald Trump's strange allyship with Saudi Arabia over Qatar is cause for suspicion about whether his allegiances are informed by business interests.
The report noted that Trump has been in business with the Saudis for 20 years, since he sold ownership of the Plaza Hotel to a Saudi prince and has one golf course in the United Arab Emirates with another on the way. He hasn't, however, been able to enter into the market in Qatar.
Those business relationships now seem to be playing out in Trump's newly-hostile foreign policy towards Qatar in their feud with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Breaking ties with Qatar, the Times noted, diverges from the policies of the Pentagon, State Department, and previous administrations, which all view the small Arab Gulf nation as a crucial military ally.
Trump, who is the first president in 40 years who's failed to divest from all his personal businesses upon taking office, has fallen under criticism for doing so.
"Critics say his singular decision to hold on to his global business empire inevitably casts a doubt on his motives, especially when his public actions dovetail with his business interests," the Times reported.
“Other countries in the Middle East see what is happening and may think, ‘We should be opening golf courses’ or ‘We should be buying rooms at the Trump International,’”Brian Egan, a State Department adviser from Barack Obama's administration, told the Times. “Even if there is no nefarious intent on behalf of the president or the Trumps, for a president to be making money from business holdings in sensitive places around the world is likely to have an impact.”
Read the entire report on Trump's Middle Eastern business interests "dovetailing" with his foreign policy via the New York Times.