Saturday, July 15, 2017
The framers of our Constitution gave the president important authority over foreign affairs, including the power to nominate ambassadors, negotiate treaties and receive foreign ambassadors. From the earliest days of the Republic, other nations sought to reciprocate their appreciation by giving presents to the American chief magistrate. In 1791, for example, Washington received, accepted and kept a valuable gilt-framed full-length portrait of King Louis XVI from the French ambassador to the United States. Here too, Washington did not seek congressional consent for this gift.