President Trump and Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud sat side by side in the Royal Court Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and watched as agreement after agreement was signed by Saudi officials and American CEOs. The signing ceremony lasted 22 minutes.
"Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments [into] the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs," Trump raved to reporters a short time later.
A State Department official says the agreements are worth $380 billion: $110 billion in arms sales and $270 billion in commercial agreements. But beyond that, U.S. officials were slow to provide a complete list of the agreements or a full accounting of the totals they provided.
That hasn't, however, stopped Trump and members of his administration from using superlatives to describe what was achieved in Saudi Arabia.
"The president was able to make some of the most amazing deals that have really been made by an administration ever," said White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, speaking to reporters at the end of the president's trip. "I have to tell you personally: I've been in business for 30 years, I've been doing this my entire life — I've never seen anything come together like this."
After Cohn said that, NPR emailed White House press secretary Sean Spicer asking for details — and not for the first time. Spicer's three-word response: "working on it."
A week later, Spicer suggested calling the Commerce Department. The Commerce Department didn't have a ready-to-go list or fact sheet.
An administration official later provided by phone what he said was a "partial list" that included only some of the commercial and arms deals. Added together, the total came to just $83 billion — a far cry from the top-line number touted initially.
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