Trump says he got money from China and Saudi Arabia because he was “doing services” for them

Donald Trump KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images
Donald Trump KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images
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Former President Donald Trump defended his businesses accepting payments from foreign governments during a Fox News town hall on Wednesday. The comments came in response to a Jan. 4 report from House Oversight Committee Democrats finding that the former president had received at least $7.8 million in payments from foreign governments, including China and Saudi Arabia, and their controlled entities while in office.

"That's a small amount of money. You know, it sounds like a lot of money. That's small," Trump said during the event. He went on to explain that the governments paid for accommodations at his hotels and clubs. "I was doing services for them. People were staying in these massive hotels, these beautiful hotels," Trump said, adding, "I don't get $8 million for doing nothing." Oversight Committee Democrats reported that Trump's businesses had raked in money from at least 20 countries, ranging "from the People's Republic of China to Saudi Arabia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Malaysia to Albania to Kosovo," which spent "often lavishly" for stays at his hotels in Washington, Las Vegas and New York or his apartments.

Receiving those payments violated the Constitution, according to the lawmakers. "President Trump never sought or received Congress's approval to keep these foreign payments, as the Constitution requires," the report said. Trump, the current frontrunner for the GOP nomination, was indicted on a total of 91 criminal charges, including falsifying business records and election interference, across two state and two federal cases.