The State Department on Tuesday distanced itself from Donald Trump Jr. ‘s trip to India, telling reporters he is traveling as a private citizen and that the agency played no role in shaping his message during the visit.
Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman for the department, said “overall, the United States embassy doesn’t have any role in that visit,” and that Trump Jr. is not visiting in an official capacity.
Nauert said the embassy has been in touch with U.S. Secret Service about the visit, but noted such communication is standard.
Trump Jr., President Trump ‘s eldest son, is in India this week to promote luxury apartments at a Trump-branded development outside of New Delhi.
While the trip has been billed as an unofficial one, Trump Jr. is also expected to deliver a speech this week on Indo-Pacific relations at a business summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is also expected to speak at the event.
Trump Jr. doesn’t hold a post in his father’s administration. When the president took office last year, he handed control of day-to-day operations of his real estate empire to Trump Jr. and his second son, Eric Trump .
Trump Jr.’s trip to India, however, has raised concern among some ethics watchdogs that the Trump Organization, the president’s for-profit company, is hawking access to the president’s son abroad.
Nauert, however, denied that Trump Jr.’s trip was in any kind of official capacity.
“He is there as a private citizen and I don’t have any comment beyond that,” Nauert said at a department press briefing.