By Rebecca Jacobs
August 16, 2019

On August 13th, Don Jr. attended a pre-launch event to kick off the development of two Trump-brand properties in Lido and Bali, Indonesia. While Donald Trump Jr. denied claims that his trip to Indonesia this week posed any conflicts of interest between his business and the Trump Administration, social media posts from the event show two Indonesian government officials and several other people with close ties to the Indonesian government seized the opportunity to attend an event with the son of the United States president. 

Those officials in attendance were the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti and Governor of Jakarta Anies Baswedan. Among the other high-profile guests was the projects’ developer Hary Tanoesoedibjo’s daughter, Angela Tanoesoedibjo, who has reportedly been considered for a position with President Joko Widodo’s cabinet. Also in attendance were former Ambassador to the United States Dino Patti Djalal, Golkar Party Chairman Aburizal Bakrie, and Dede Yusuf, who served as Vice Governor of West Java, home to the future Lido resort. 

Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in President Joko Widodo’s cabinet (left)

Anies Baswedan, Governor of Jakarta (first from the right) 

Angela Tanoesoedibjo, who is reportedly being considered for a cabinet position in President Joko Widodo’s cabinet (second from the left)

President Trump has refused to divest from the Trump Organization since taking office and still profits from the company’s work. The Trump Organization’s overseas business endeavors are a major source of conflicts of interest that could potentially influence U.S. foreign policy or encourage favorable treatment of Trump businesses abroad as a way of currying favor with the administration, while also enriching the president. 

The presence of Indonesian officials at the event raises several troubling questions about potential foreign influence in the Trump administration. If  they’re interested in purchasing a stake in the developments doing so would be an untraceable payment that directly benefits the president, and could be used as a way of seeking influence or favor with him. Regardless of their motives, these officials’ presence gave the event–and the Trump brand–a promotional boost, and gave them an opportunity to get face time with the U.S. president’s son.

The two Indonesian properties are being built by MNC Group, whose founder and chairman has drawn attention to his affiliation with President Trump and the Trump Organization in the past. If his daughter is in fact appointed to a position in Indonesian President’s Joko Widodo’s Cabinet, it would represent a link between President Trump and the Indonesian government, through the Trump Organization. Social media posts show her posing with Don Jr. at the event. 

Header photo of Don Jr. by Gage Skidmore