Trump Junior Drops Foreign Policy Speech in India After Criticism
“I am here on business, I am not representing anyone,” said Donald Trump Jr.
US President Donald Trump's son dropped a planned speech on foreign affairs in the Indian capital on Friday 23 February after ethics experts said he should avoid wading into policy issues as a private citizen.
Donald Trump Junior is on a tour of India to promote real estate projects in several cities, but ethics watchdog groups in the United States say there is a possible conflict of interest in pushing the Trump brand name while his father is in the White House.
He was billed to make a speech on the topic "Reshaping the Indo-Pacific - The New Era of Cooperation," but hours before the conference began the speech was turned into a "fireside chat," where he spoke about his business and stayed clear of policy issues.
"I am here on business, I am not representing anyone," he said at the conference organised by the Economic Times and Yes Bank. He spoke to a gathering of business leaders from India and overseas, before Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a keynote speech on preparing India for the future.
US Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote to the US ambassador to India this week to ask for guarantees that the embassy and the State Department will not offer any support to Trump Junior beyond helping the US Secret Service provide him with security.
Trump Junior said he had been coming to India for more than a decade to build business for The Trump Organisation and that it had reached a take-off stage, but there were self-imposed curbs following the election of his father as president.
I learnt about doing business here through the school of hard knocks, we have built partnerships here.Donald Trump Junior
This week he was wooing buyers to book luxury apartments in Trump Towers in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi. He was also in Mumbai, attending social events.
Trump's partners in India are playing up the Trump brand. In the days leading up to Trump Junior's visit, one of its development partners in Gurgaon began an advertising campaign in newspapers offering dinner and conversation with the president's son.
But Trump said his company could not build on the gains it had made in India because of the curbs over the past year.
Ten years of hard work to get there, this would be a time to capitalise, but it’s a sacrifice, it’s a big sacrifice. But we will be back, once we are out of politics.Trump Junior
Shortly before taking office last year, Donald Trump Senior said he would hand over control of his business empire, which includes luxury homes and hotels across the world, to his sons Donald and Eric, and move his assets into a trust, to help ensure that he would not consciously take actions as president that would benefit him personally.
Several government and private ethics watchdogs said he should have gone further, divesting himself of assets that could cause a conflict of interest.
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