President Donald Trump went to India for the first time in his presidency, but he can’t stay at his own Trump properties, because they’re not as far along as he would probably like.
“It’s a little different situation than him going to his own club and being able to hold court there,” Alyssa Ayres told Politico. She was previously the deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia. “This trip will make [his properties] more visible in India.”
According to the report, Trump is likely hoping his presence will help his developments along while most of them are stalled.
“Already, in the days leading up to the trip, some Indian media outlets have referenced the Trump properties in their coverage, with one even suggesting the president chose his speaking location because of his longstanding ties to realtors in the region,” Politico said.
Trump has four properties so far in the country, and only one, in Pune, is completed. Mumbai, Kolkata and Gurugram are stalled, the Washington Post reported over the weekend.
“Trump Tower Pune, the first Trump development in India, is a pair of 23-story skyscrapers in the western Indian state of Maharashtra that boasts of redefining the Pune skyline,” Politico described the luxury. “Trump Tower Kolkata is a 36-story skyscraper of black and silver glass that touts floor-to-ceiling windows in every room. Trump Tower Mumbai has a shimmering gold facade covering 75 floors that feature panoramic views of the Arabian Sea — there’s also a private jet available for customers. And each of the two Trump Towers in Delhi rise 50 stories.”
According to Donald Trump Jr., the family has spent the last decade working to build relationships in the country and get these properties going. But only one has been completed.
“Since then, two of Trump’s business partners in India have developed problems of their own: One is accused of massive fraud, while the other is facing a funding crunch. Both of them have close ties to India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” reported the Post.
It might be why those partners are keeping a low profile for the Trump visit. While most presidents focus on international issues on a foreign trip, Trump is likely to use it as an opportunity to promote himself.
“Nowhere are the lines more blurred between Trump the statesman and Trump the salesman than in India — a nation that boasts the distinction of being both the globe’s largest democracy and the Trump Organization’s largest foreign market,” Politico explained. “For three years, Trump’s White House has worked with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on trade and a multi-billion weapons sale. And for three years, Trump’s company has worked to promote its four developments in India that have earned Trump millions of dollars in royalties.”
When Donald Trump Jr. visited the country to promote the properties, one buyer “gushed” about meeting the U.S. president’s son.
“It’s a dream come true, shaking hands with the son of the U.S. president,” the person told the Telegraph India. “I am ready to buy one more flat if they give it to me at the old price. I am ready to make a single shot payment right now.”
Trump’s developments are generally known for their luxury. But in a country where 270 million people live on less than $2 a day, plopping down nearly $40,000 for a downpayment is beyond impossible. An astounding 75 percent of an Indian’s average income is the result of parental privilege, QZ senior editor Sriram Iyer explained.
Even if the Trump family hasn’t delivered on the properties, they’re still scoring big cash. Politico cited the president’s financial disclosure forms revealing that since 2014, he’s earned more than $10 million in royalties with Indian developers. In 2018, he reported $1 million to $5 million in profits from just the Kolkata property
“There’s this complete merging of the Trump financial interests and the president’s actions as president of the United States,” said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI). “We can have no confidence that the president is not being influenced by his business.”