The visit of US President Donald Trump to India later this month came as a surprise to many. The POTUS is slated to embark on a two day visit to India on 24th and 25th February and given by his statements, Trump seems to be very excited about his India visit. In a bizarre statement, Trump said that he expects 5-7 million people to welcome him from the airport to the under construction Motera stadium during his visit to Ahmedabad. This statement further proves Donal Trump’s and obsession for large swathes of crowds.
“I am (going to India). He (PM Modi) said we will have millions and millions of people. He thinks we will have 5-7 million people just from the airport to the new stadium,” said Donald Trump, while talking to the media about his upcoming tour. Joking about the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event in Houston last year or his own events in the US, Trump said it is not a good feeling when 50,000 people attend these gatherings.
“When we have 50,000 people, I’m not going to feel so good we’ll have five to seven million people just from the airport to the new stadium. And you know it is the largest stadium in the world. (They are) building it now. It’s almost complete and it’s the largest in the world,” Trump said.
Trump’s expectations that 5-7 million people might welcome him is grossly exaggerated and it seems that he might have misunderstood the number, but it reaffirms one simple obsession of Trump’s and that is crowds, huge crowds and that PM Modi is fully aware of his fixation. PM Modi seems to have assured him 5-7 million people, Modi may have said 5-7 lakh people which Trump may have misunderstood, or Trump might have actually quoted a wishful number out of sheer excitement.
That the President of the USA is obsessed with big crowds of people rallying for him, should not be surprising. His 2017, swearing-in ceremony did not boast of the most swelling crowd and it injured the ego of the President when the Democrats starting poking fun about it. Big crowds matter to help voters create a better and grand perception of the leader.
Modi showed Trump the strength of his own popularity at Howdy Modi when over 50,000 people chanted Modi’s name in America’s own state and a Republican stronghold, Texas. It turned out to be the largest-ever gathering hosted by a foreign politician in the US. America was supposed to host Modi initially, but as Modi got up on stage, he got the crowd riled up for Trump. Trump seemed to be in absolute awe of the crowd of Indian Americans that chanted ‘USA USA USA’.
Of course, Trump loved this. He went on the next day at a meeting with Imran Khan, where he gushed about the massive crowd at Howdy Modi. Addressing a joint press conference with Imran Khan, Donald Trump praised PM Narendra Modi’s aggressive statement against terrorism at the ‘Howdy, Modi!’ event. Trump said that PM Modi’s statement was very well received in the room of 59,000 people. Moreover, during Howdy Modi, Trump had tweeted – “The USA Loves India”, something he would never do for Pakistan. The Howdy Modi show was a rousing success where Donald Trump-Narendra Modi bonhomie was on full display and the boisterous diaspora of India-Americans cheered every bit of the Modi spectacle.
The US President’s perception of India’s political standing across the globe seemed to have changed for the better. In fact, Modi’s speech directed against Pakistan and terrorism, and his Kashmir rhetoric all got the crowd super exhilarated. Trump acknowledged this and seemed to have assessed that Modi was more than just in control of the situation and the narrative. He noticed that India under Modi is politically very powerful.
Modi seeks to give him exactly this during his visit, for better, unprecedented ties between the two countries. As large crowds in India shall boost the ego of the President and politician Donald trump who is on election mode after an exhausting impeachment saga. In return we can expect stronger ties, and lesser legroom for Pakistan to lobby for its interests in USA.