There are ethical concerns over Donald Trump Jr’s business trip to India this week that should be addressed both by India and the United States. India is embracing the US President’s son’s visit to sell apartments and office space in Gurgaon and Kolkata. While the issue may concern the US more, in that President Trump’s efforts to separate himself from his businesses seem feeble, the Trump Organisation has pledged it will not sign any new deals while he is in office. But it’s true that the Trump real estate business, which runs on a franchise model, is marketing access to the US first family in such highly-publicised events. India is treating the current visit as a private one, unlike Ivanka’s recent Hyderabad trip for a global business summit.
A business summit is also due during the son’s visit later this week in New Delhi, and the government may invest it with higher status, with officials attending it. Trump Jr’s easy access to key people in governments raises moral issues — in a situation where a top businessman has become US President and whose family members are used as interlocutors in diplomatic matters. Ivanka raised hackles by briefly taking Mr Trump’s seat at a G-20 summit in Europe when he had left the room for a while, and his son-in-law is considered a key player in US-Israel ties. Given America’s primacy as a global power, it’s difficult to keep people off from seeking the Trumps’ influence. While there can be no issue about progeny of politicians being in business, it is the thin red line of ethicality that is so troubling.