If Indians near New Delhi want to have a chance to influence President Donald Trump — or at least, those closest to him — all they have to do is buy a million-dollar condo.
A developer in charge of a Trump Towers project in Gurugram, India (a suburb of New Delhi), is promising new buyers of his condo a free trip to New York City to meet with the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. As the Trump children have supposedly retained control of their father’s company, questions over the ethics of such arrangements are being raised.
“It will be a fantastic experience for the residents to be flown in to the U.S. for a special evening with Donald Trump Jr.," one of the developers, Amit Kumar, said. "It will be a sit-down dinner and the evening program will last four to five hours."
Questions abound about how ethical such an arrangement is. The Trump family seems to be profiting from their father’s presidential stature — and that has, in turn, benefited Trump Sr. himself. So any marketing ploy to fill in the remaining vacancies in his company’s towers will benefit him personally.
The deal for patrons of this new condo project is also ethically unsound because it allows wealthy Indians the chance to mingle and discuss topics with the president's son — whether that has to do with Trump’s businesses, or his executive agenda in Washington.
These types of meetings frequently allow those who can pay to access them the chance to influence the president directly. Indeed, this reportedly happens at his Mar-a-Lago estate, where the president directly asks his high-paying guests their opinions on policy matters.
The new condo building, which will be called Trump Towers Delhi NCR (National Capital Region) is the fourth Trump Towers project in India and will house around 250 apartments for around $1 million each. That’s potentially $250 million in revenues for the Trump family, which is a lot of money that Trump Sr. won’t readily ignore if they have something to say about his presidency.
This kind of problem didn’t really exist before Trump became president. His fake “blind trust” is unprecedented because presidents in the modern era before him had always liquidated their assets — President Jimmy Carter, for instance, put his peanut farm in a trust that could be sold away at any time, without his approval.
But Trump’s current arrangement allows him to profit from his current position of power. It also allows those who have millions of dollars, to spend on condos or other Trump properties, to give their thoughts to the president. It’s a two-way street that benefits Trump and his highest-paying tenants and donors, but leaves most Americans in the dust when it comes to their opinions on his policies.