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Katsumi Kasahara, Charles Dharapak, Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Evan Vucci / AP

As Trump experienced this week, part of the perks of being POTUS include lavish gifts from foreign leaders. Unfortunately, presidents don't get to just keep those gifts.

  • The rules: In 1966, Congress instated a rule that prevents the president, from accepting gifts worth more than a certain amount from foreign governments. As of 2014, that amount is $375. Gifts worth more than that go to the National Archives.
  • The catch: The president or any diplomats are able to keep gifts worth more than $375 if they pay the market price for it, which is rarely done, although Hillary Clinton paid $970 for a black pearl necklace given to her by the Myanmar opposition leader. With Trump being the richest U.S. president yet, he could easily afford to buy some of the foreign gifts presented to him if he chooses to.
  • The most extravagant giver: Saudi Arabia by far has given the most costly gifts, sometimes costing more than half a million dollars.

Here's some of the wildest gifts, according to the National Archives, the Atlantic, Foreign Policy and NBC News:

Living animals:

  • Theodore Roosevelt got a zebra and a lion from Ethiopia.
  • Richard Nixon got a panda from China.
  • George W. Bush was given a puppy from Bulgaria, which he ended up giving to a family in Maryland as the puppy couldn't be archived.
  • Bush also got a Komodo dragon from Indonesia, which he gifted to the Cincinnati zoo.

Non-living animals

  • And the president of Tanzania gave him a stuffed leopard and lion.
  • George W. Bush received 300 pounds of raw lamb from Argentina.

Home decor:

  • The leader of Azerbaijan gave Bill Clinton an oriental carpet... with large portraits of Bill and Hillary woven into it.
  • He also got a gold mechanical bird that "tweets, turns, and flaps its wings once per hour," according to the archive entry, and priced at $110K from Qatar.
  • He also received a fancy, personalized ping pong table from the British Prime Minister.

Practical:

  • Obama was given crocodile insurance, which entitled Michelle to 50,000 Australian dollars if Barack was attacked by a crocodile. This obviously came from Australia. "I have to admit, when we reformed health care in America, crocodile insurance is one thing we left out," Obama said, according to FP.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson was given a Burberry coat from the U.K., but it was the wrong size and his aides had to rush to exchange it.
  • Obama was given a gold and gem-encrusted sword from Saudi Arabia.

Go deeper

13 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.