On This Trip, Trump Expects a King's Welcome

The president flies off to India
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 23, 2020 3:30 PM CST
Trump Takes Off—and Expects a Huge Crowd
In this Sept. 22, 2019, file photo, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump walk the perimeter of the arena floor to greet attendants after Modi's speech during the "Howdi Modi" event at NRG Stadium in Houston.   (AP Photo/Michael Wyke, File)

It was the Trumpiest of offers: A rally at one of the world's largest stadiums. President Trump's packed two-day visit to India promises the kind of welcome that has eluded him on many foreign trips, some of which have featured massive protests and icy handshakes from world leaders, the AP reports. He is expected to receive a warm embrace from the ideologically aligned and hug-loving Prime Minister Narendra Modi, complete with a massive rally soon after his arrival Monday and then a sunset visit to the Taj Mahal. After hosting Modi at a "Howdy Modi" rally in Houston last year that drew 50,000 people, Modi will return the favor with a "Namaste Trump" (it translates to, "Greetings, Trump") rally at the world's largest cricket stadium in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad.

Tens of thousands are expected to line the streets. Modi "told me we’ll have 7 million people between the airport and the event," Trump said to reporters Tuesday, then raised the anticipated number to 10 million when he mentioned the trip during a Thursday night rally. Indian authorities expect closer to 100,000. "I'll never be satisfied with a crowd if we have 10 million people in India," Trump said. His motorcade will travel amid cheers from carefully picked and screened Modi loyalists and workers from his Bharatiya Janata Party. It's a long trip, and Trump is only scheduled to stay one night, but the adulation might be worth it. "In some ways, American presidents go to India to feel loved," says analyst Tanvi Madan. "It's not about him, per se, for them. It is the US relationship for India is crucial." (See an odd story about India's huge gold find—which was quickly denied.)

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