US state department says Donald Trump Jr visiting India as private citizen and not in official capacity

Donald Trump Jr, son of US president Donald Trump is travelling to India as a private citizen and not in an official capacity, the state department has said, amidst ethical concerns raised by some groups

PTI February 21, 2018 19:54:41 IST
US state department says Donald Trump Jr visiting India as private citizen and not in official capacity

Washington: Donald Trump Jr, son of US president Donald Trump is travelling to India as a private citizen and not in an official capacity, the state department has said, amidst ethical concerns raised by some groups. The 40-year-old son of the US president is currently on a business trip India. He is executive vice president of the Trump Organization which is developing a number of high profile properties in various parts of the country.

US state department says Donald Trump Jr visiting India as private citizen and not in official capacity

A file image of Donald Trump Jr. AP

"We certainly are aware that Trump is in the region, that he's there as a private citizen, not as a official US government in any capacity," state department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters yesterday at her daily news conference. Nauert said the US embassy is in touch with the Secret Service, because he is afforded Secret Service protection.

"Any time we have an official or someone who would go over there who does have Secret Service protection, there is some amount of coordination and conversation. But overall, the US embassy does not have any kind of role in that visit," she said. "He is there as a private citizen and I don't have any comment beyond that regarding his trip," she said.

India is the Trump Organization's biggest overseas market, earning the family up to $3 million in royalties in 2016, the Voice of America reported. Trump Jr is the second child of the US president to visit India. Ivanka Trump visited in November, in her capacity as a member of Trump administration, to address a global entrepreneurship summit in Hyderabad in November. But critics say the Trump family is cashing in on the president's name.

Citizens for Ethics, a government ethics and accountability watchdog organisation alleged that the president's son's visit to India was a violation of ethics. "By offering a meeting with Donald Trump Jr to buyers, Trump's business is essentially auctioning off access to the US president's son. What's to stop Don Jr from talking about a policy issue with a buyer and then bringing it up with his father?" it said in a tweet.

"A Secret Service detail is accompanying Donald Trump Jr to India where he is promoting Trump real estate. Which means his trip to make a profit for the Trump Organization is costing taxpayers money," it said. "Donald Trump Jr. is going to India to sell real estate for his family business. Why is he giving a speech on foreign policy?" it asked.

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