Trump Jr. to give foreign policy speech while on ‘unofficial’ business trip to India

The plan for Trump Tower buyers to meet with the president’s son is raising accusations of influence-peddling.


The president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is making what's been dubbed an unofficial visit to India to promote his family's real estate projects. But he's also planning to deliver a foreign policy speech on Indo-Pacific relations at an event with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Beginning Tuesday, the junior Trump will have a full schedule of meet-and-greets with investors and business leaders throughout India where the Trump family has real estate projects - Mumbai, the New Delhi suburb of Gurgaon and the eastern city of Kolkata. 

Indian newspapers have been running full-page, glossy advertisements hyping his arrival and the latest Trump Tower project under the headline: "Trump is here — Are You Invited?" The ads also invited home buyers to plunk down a booking fee (about $38,000) to "join Mr. Donald Trump Jr. for a conversation and dinner." Public relations executives working with two local developers arranging the Trump dinner declined to give specifics about the event. 

During the visit, the 40-year-old Trump, the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, will take a break from his private promotional tour to give an address on "Reshaping Indo- Pacific Ties: The New Era of Cooperation" at a global business summit on Friday evening, co-sponsored by the Economic Times newspaper. Modi will also speak at the summit on the topic of "Preparing India for the Future." 

News that the Trump Organization would be offering buyers in the Trump Tower the chance to meet the president's son sparked criticism of potential conflict of interest, and the fact that Trump Jr. will be giving a foreign policy speech while on a private business trip complicates the matter further, ethics expert said. 

The senior Trump did not divest himself of his businesses when he was elected president. Rather, he turned the day-to-day operations over to his older sons, Don Jr. and Eric, to run. Eric Trump told The Washington Post last year that "the company and policy and government are completely separated. We have built an unbelievable wall in between the two." 

Watchdog groups disagree. 

"Trump's company is literally selling access to the president's son overseas," said Jordan Libowitz, the communications director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which is frequently critical of the first family. "For many people wanting to impact American policy in the region, the cost of a condo is a small price to pay to lobby one of the people closest to the president, far away from watchful eyes." 

Critics have often complained of the high cost of Secret Service agents accompanying the Trump children on private business trips, straining the agency's budget. The Trump Organization's spokesman did not return calls or emails requesting comment. 

Amit Sharma, a spokesman for the Gurgaon developer, said that they had sold apartments worth nearly $70 million since the Gurgaon towers project launched in early January. The buildings, where flats run from $780,000 to $1.6 million, have private elevator service, in-residence catering and an indoor swimming pool. 

Trump Jr.'s tour of India, Sharma said, is a chance to "celebrate the entire exercise." 

Along with the Trump Tower Delhi NCR (National Capital Region) in Gurgaon, projects include two residential towers in the western city of Pune, towers in Mumbai and Kolkata and a planned office tower in Gurgaon, which is also known as Gurugram. The Trump Organization has more business entities in India than in any other foreign country, financial filings show, with licensing bringing in estimated payments of $1.6 million to $11 million since 2014. 

Later this week, Trump Jr. will travel to Mumbai to open the demo unit at the golden-facade Trump Tower that's being built by the family development firm of Mangal Prabhat Lodha, a state legislator in Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party. That relationship has also sparked concern about potential conflict of interest. As with most of its foreign deals, the Trump family licenses its name to the projects, collecting hefty royalty fees but avoiding risky investments. 

"Part of the deal was that Trump would come and do promotions every couple of years," said an employee of the Lodha Group, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. 

The election changed that, he said, meaning the kids now have to step in. 

"Ideally we'd have preferred Ivanka," he said, referring to the president's eldest daughter, who is now an adviser to her father. "She has a better public image. But it makes sense for Donald Trump Junior to do it."


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Gin taster wanted: Company will hire you to travel the world, drink with friends
Gin taster wanted: Company will hire you to travel the world, drink with friends

Do you have a real thirst for adventure, and well, booze? A bar group in London is looking for some parched patrons to travel the world sipping gin to stock a new bar that’s scheduled to open in the fall. The owners of Mr. Fogg’s is looking to stock its new Society of Exploration bar, the Evening Standard reported. And what better way than...
University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts found dead: reports
University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts found dead: reports

Authorities believe they have found the body of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, who vanished last month after going for a run in Brooklyn, Iowa, according to multiple reports. Greg Willey of Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa confirmed to The Associated Press that investigators found a body Tuesday morning believed to be that of Tibbetts...
30-lb shelter cat ‘Meatloaf’ adopted by veteran in Iowa to help with PTSD
30-lb shelter cat ‘Meatloaf’ adopted by veteran in Iowa to help with PTSD

A shelter cat who became internet-famous for his physique has found a new home with an Iraq veteran living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Meatloaf, a 30-pound cat, was put up for adoption by King’s Harvest Animal Shelter in Davenport, Iowa, after his older owners weren’t able to take care of him, according to the ...
Mom warns of dangers of allowing children to nap in car seats
Mom warns of dangers of allowing children to nap in car seats

It’s been three years, but the parents of a 17-month-old little girl are still warning parents and caregivers how dangerous it can be to allow children to nap in car seats. Mia Smith died after her babysitter put her into her car seat for a nap. Mia never woke up, WFAA reported. Her official cause of death was listed as positional asphyxia. It&rsquo...
School violence: Half of all 2017-18 school shootings, threats happened in these 10 states
School violence: Half of all 2017-18 school shootings, threats happened in these 10 states

Half of all incidents of school violence and threats of violence during the 2017-2018 school year were logged in just 10 states according to a report released Monday from an organization that studies school violence. The report from the Educator’s School Safety Network found that of 3,654 reported incidents of violence and threats of violence...
More Stories