By Labonita Ghosh, Mumbai Mirror | Updated: Feb 23, 2018, 08.53 AM IST
Donald Trump Jr says the family will pick up from where they left off on their business interest in India once Trump Senior is out of the Presidency.
For the two and threequarter days Donald Trump Jr has been in India, he’s had to reiterate — in almost every one of the four cities he’s visited — how he’s here in the capacity of a businessman and not the firstborn of the US President with whom he shares his name. He’s also had to stress how the family has had to forego many millions worth of business opportunities since Trump Senior became President, just so that there is no conflict of interest. But the Trumps are obviously biding their time, and the presidency. For, as Don Jr said: “There will be a time, after politics, when we will get back in the game. I have spent a decade nurturing relationships, partnering with the right people in the right markets.” And clearly, he’s not going to throw that all away for the Presidency.
In Mumbai, Trump spent a frenetic day networking and parleying. He started the day with a ‘topping out ceremony’ at the eponymous Trump Tower in the city, and followed it up by interacting with the high-end buyers who had reportedly put down $38,000 to book the apartment (and a chance to shake his hand). The ‘topping out’ happened at the 78th floor of the building which is being constructed by the Lodha Group. The Trumps, as with all five of their properties in India — ultra-luxe apartment blocks in Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata, and residential towers and an office building in Gurgaon — merely lend their name and brand to a project that is constructed by an Indian partner. For that they receive royalties, without any risk of actual investment.
Later in the day, Trump is supposed to have met some business leaders and well-known builders at an event in a SoBo club, and unconfirmed reports say he dropped by at Antilla for a chat with Mukesh Ambani. In Pune, he caught up with BJP chief Ashish Shelar and the two discussed “smart cities and Mumbai’s development” over dinner, is all that Shelar would say.
“India has been a school of hard knocks, in terms of who to partner with and the relationships to carry into the future,” Trump said. “I’m here as a businessman. Building buildings is our day job. We’ve had to crash out of the game for now, for obvious reasons, but we also get into a deal for long-term play.” The Trump family has been looking at India for over a decade and a half. On the flak he’s received from the media for apparently getting customers to quick-book, at exorbitant rates, so that they can get to meet him, Trump said: “I’d be the first person in the history of real estate to not sit and talk to my buyers.”