Let's see what Donald Trump Jr. is doing in India

Even though the president's son is supposed to only focus on Trump's businesses, he is talking politics in India

By Matthew Rozsa
Published February 20, 2018 2:49PM (EST)
 (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

There's supposed to be a fine line between President Donald Trump's business running the country, and his family business — running a real estate licensing empire. But his son, Donald Trump Jr., is blurring that line.

Trump is in India in to meet with investors and business leaders about the Trump Organization's various real estate projects in that country, according to The Washington Post. But, while on this trip, the president's oldest son will deliver a speech called "Reshaping Indo-Pacific Ties: The New Era of Cooperation" at a global business summit co-sponsored by the Economic Times. The address is expected to be delivered on Friday and, aside from its inherently political nature, will be controversial because the summit will also be attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Trump’s company is literally selling access to the president’s son overseas," Jordan Libowitz, communications director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told the Post. "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."

The notion that Trump is selling access to his family, and by extension to the president, has been reinforced by the media that has preceded the younger Trump's arrival to India.

Nearly every major newspaper in the country contained front page advertisements with Trump Jr.'s picture and the headline, "Trump has arrived. Have you?" according to the Associated Press. The advertisements promise individuals who order apartments in the family's New Delhi property by Thursday that they will receive "a conversation and dinner" with the president's son on Friday.

But forget about the possible ethical implications of the president, who said before his inauguration that his sons would be in charge of the real estate business — and that he would have no control over their day-to-day decision making. How is Donald Trump Jr. doing in India? Is he being a good steward of America, and promoting the common man as the son of the man he calls the "blue-collar billionaire?" He's amazed by the poor people!

"You go through a town, and I don't mean to be glib about it, but you can see the poorest of the poor, and there is still a smile on a face," Trump Jr. told CNBC on Monday about his perception of India's impoverished community. "You say hello. It's a different that you don't see in other parts of the world, where people walk around so solemn, and I think there is something unique about that, that doesn't exist elsewhere."

According to the World Bank, one in five indians is poor. Most of them live in rural areas in an incredibly unequal society. Only 21 percent of poor people have access to latrines, and while 61 percent have access to electricity, it's a lot less then the 85 percent of non-poor that don't have access to it. But most startling of all is that only 6 percent of Indians have access to tap water.

But still, it's quite amazing that Trump, hobnobbing with the elite, is being treated well.

How wonderful it is to see poor people in India, if you're Donald Trump Jr. and trying to promote luxury apartments with your name on them.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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