The US president's son is in India on a week-long visit to expand Trump Organization's real estate business in Asia's third-largest economy. "I know how vicious Indian media can be, but they have treated me fairly". Even when Indian outlets are aggressive in their coverage: "They've at least been fair", he said.
Trump Jr. said he had been coming to India for more than a decade to build business for The Trump Organisation and it had reached a take-off stage but there were self-imposed curbs following the election of his father as president.
"When we're out of politics, I think we will get some credit for it and will be welcomed again with open arms", Trump Jr said.
Not to be outdone, a New York Times headline asked: "As Donald Trump Jr drums up business in India, some ask what's being sold?" His speech was retitled by conference organizers only hours before it was delivered amid criticism he was pushing an ethics boundary by talking about foreign policy during a private trip focused on the family business.
"It is indeed unusual for him to be speaking alongside India's prime minister, given the great gulf between their backgrounds and areas of focus", said Alyssa Ayres, a senior fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.
In another interview with CNBC-TV18 - a CNBC affiliate - he dismissed charges of "profiteering from the presidency" as nonsense, saying the Trump business was getting hurt as no new projects were being signed.
The New Jersey senator, Bob Menendez, said earlier this week his visit could send the "mistaken message" he was speaking on behalf of the U.S. government.
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On Thursday, White House spokeswoman Lindsay E. Walters said the Trump administration "takes seriously its obligation to ensure that government resources are not used to provide a private benefit to anyone".
The U.S. State Department said the embassy was supporting the Secret Service team responsible for Trump Jr. but otherwise had no role in his visit.
Does the visit mean anything for India's official ties with the US?
President Trump has pledged to stay away from any new foreign business deals during his term in office to avoid potential ethical conflicts.
Donald Trump Jr. said that any talk of his family profiting from his father's presidency is "nonsense" while on a visit to India that has raised ethical concerns about using the name of the American president to promote worldwide business ventures. All the projects, which are being built by Indian developers, bear the Trump name from licensing agreements.
This was followed by an interview published in The Times of India on Thursday, in which Mr Trump Jr denounced U.S. media as "a disaster" amid questions in leading American publications on whether access to the First Family was being auctioned with a dinner. Commenting on the impact that the current United States policy to encourage domestic manufacturing would have on global trade, Trump Jr said that they are not mutually exclusive.
Other than the Mumbai project, the company?s portfolio includes residential projects across Pune, Gurugram and Kolkata in association with local real estate developers such as Panchshil Realty, M3M, Tribeca, Unimark and IREO.