Donald Trump Jr. is planning a sales trip to India – the Trump Organization’s largest foreign market – at the same time that his father is pushing for stronger ties with the country.
The younger Trump is looking to move more than $1 billion worth of luxury residential units the company and its partners are developing in the country, the New York Times reported. The Trump Organization earned as much as $3 million in royalties from India in 2016, according to the president’s financial disclosures.
But Don Jr.’s trip comes as his father takes a hard line against China and Pakistan, two of India’s rivals. And two weeks, ago, the president called India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and pledged to “strengthen security and economic cooperation” between the United States and India.
The overlap between the Trump Organization’s interests in India and the president’s negotiations with the country have made some uneasy.
“The idea that the president’s son would be going and shilling the president’s brand at same time Donald Trump is president and is managing strategic and foreign relations with India — that is just bizarre,” said former State Department official Daniel Markey, who worked on South Asia policy during George W. Bush’s administration.
Images of the president and Ivanka Trump have been removed from advertisements in India, but still local buyers associate the company’s brand with the president.
Donald Jr. said his itinerary does not include interactions with government officials, an intentional move to stay away from politics.
“We certainly won’t get involved in that,” he told the Times, adding that the company would not seek concessions from government officials for Trump properties. [NYT] — Rich Bockmann