Donald Trump tried to seek investments from Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi two years before he was toppled in 2011 — and the effort included renting his estate outside New York City, working to set up a personal meeting with the strongman and even taking the Libyan ambassador golfing.
"I’m interested in having a meeting with Gaddafi" to discuss business opportunities, a source involved in the effort told BuzzFeed News
, quoting Trump from 2009.
Trump's efforts apparently disregarded Gaddafi support of terrorism that killed Americans, including Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Switzerland, in 1988, according to the report.
BuzzFeed attributed its report to four sources, including three who knew of his efforts to set up the meeting. The sources said they were not clear what type of investments Trump was seeking.
Meanwhile, "the Trump campaign did not respond to repeated requests" for comment, BuzzFeed reports.
Key to Trump's effort was pledging his 230-acre estate in Bedford, N.Y., in Westchester County, to Gaddafi in 2009 while he was in New York to attend a United Nations assembly.
A huge tent would be erected, for a ceremony in which a live lamb would be sacrificed, for Gaddafi because he had been turned down by other hotels, BuzzFeed reports.
But the plan was scuttled amid public outrage — and the dictator ended up staying in Manhattan.
Throughout the tent controversy, Trump called a global public relations firm representing Libya, Brown Lloyd James, to ask "if we could maybe quiet it down," Chris Herbert told BuzzFeed.
He had been hired by the agency to coordinate Gaddafi's visit.
But then Herbert told BuzzFeed that Trump told him this: "Let's not worry about the tent. I’m interested in having a meeting with Qaddafi."
The developer wanted to discuss business opportunities involving "the Mediterranean waterfront and construction," Herbert said.
Despite Trump's efforts, no deals were consummated, the sources told BuzzFeed.
But a former U.S. official who knew of the billionaire's moves to lure Libyan investments said that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement "absolutely" knew of Trump's plans, telling BuzzFeed that "we were disappointed."
"The fact that he would allow Gaddafi to stay at his place, that says tons," the official said.
"Hotels would not let Gaddafi in."
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