VARANASI, India — Donald Trump Jr. arrives in India on Monday to promote new Trump Towers and be a keynote speaker with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, raising concerns about mixing his father’s family business interests with U.S. foreign policy.
The eldest son of President Trump was arriving on the family jet for the week-long visit that will include meetings and dinners with investors, businessmen and prospective buyers who have shown interest in the four Trump Tower projects under construction in the cities of Gurugram, Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata.
At the end of the week, Trump Jr. is scheduled to attend the two-day Global Business Summit in New Delhi, hosted by The Economic Times, where he will speak along with Modi and other government officials.
Full-page newspaper ads appeared over the weekend offering those who buy a residence in the luxury tower in Gurugram would be invited to have dinner later this week with Trump Jr., executive vice president of the Trump Organization.
The largest Trump tower project is in Gurugram — a fast-growing city just outside of New Delhi — where 254 condos are for sale. The amenities and services listed on the official website include a Trump Club — “your personal utopia in your own backyard” — and waking up to “radiant morning sunrays that are pouring in through the floor-to-ceiling glass.”
The ads show a picture of Trump Jr. with the headline: “Trump has arrived. Have you?”
“Indian people are ready for such ventures, and they have already been spending huge amounts for luxurious suits,” said Gaurav Kapoor, an entrepreneur in Varanasi in northern India. “If the builders are offering dinner and drinks with Trump Jr., there is high possibility that buyers may think that buying a suit in Trump Tower will put them close to the first family of the U.S.
India has emerged as the Trump Organization’s biggest international market. Yet, the U.S. president has taken hard stands recently against two of India’s enemies — China (to pressure North Korea) and Pakistan (over harboring terrorists).
“What is to stop a foreign national with interests before the U.S. government from asking Don Junior to raise some issue or concern with his father? We know that father and son talk all the time, and discuss business,” Norman Eisen, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told CNN.
This is not the first visit to India by a member of the Trump family. Daughter Ivanka Trump visited in November to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, at a time that sales were about to start on some Trump Organization residential projects.
Some people here say the Trump Tower newspaper ads were crass, since the average annual income for people in India is less than $2,000, making that luxury lifestyle far out of reach.
Sunil Kumar Bhandari, 52, a clothing wholesaler based in New Delhi, said he and his friends can’t afford what’s offered in the ads.