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Trump takes aim at domestic rivals on last day of India trip

World News | Published:

The US president warned of ‘economic calamity’ if he is denied a second term in office this November.

US president Donald Trump has lashed out at supreme court justices and his Democratic rivals during the second and last day of a whirlwind trip to India.

Addressing reporters and business leaders, Mr Trump warned of economic calamity if he loses his American re-election race in November and repeated his call for two liberal-leaning supreme court justices to recuse themselves from cases involving him or his administration.

The Republican president also said he had not been briefed on intelligence suggesting Russia is meddling in the 2020 election, either to bolster him or Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.

This comes despite Russia’s well-documented meddling in the 2016 election to help Mr Trump win.

The US leader had joked at the beginning of the news conference that he would be “very, very conservative” in his answers to avoid distracting from his “fantastic two days” in India.

But then he quickly launched into attacks, including criticising supreme court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, the latter for a blistering dissent that was critical of the Trump administration’s rush to claim emergencies when asking the supreme court to review cases.

“I just don’t know how they can not recuse themselves for anything Trump or Trump-related,” he said.

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Trump arrives at the presidential palace
Mr Trump arrives for a ceremonial welcome at the Indian Presidential Palace in New Delhi (AP)

Mr Trump spent much of Tuesday meeting with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and emerged saying he was optimistic about the prospects of inking a trade deal with India despite moves by both sides that created doubt about the ability to reach an agreement.

Mr Trump had made clear before the trip that hammering out a long-sought trade deal with India was unlikely during the two-day trip.

“Our teams have made tremendous progress on a comprehensive trade agreement and I’m optimistic we can reach a deal that will be of great importance to both countries,” Mr Trump told reporters on the second and final day of his 36-hour official visit.

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India US Trump
Mr Trump and first lady Melania Trump offer floral respects at Raj Ghat, the memorial for Mahatma Gandhi, in New Delhi (AP)

The day began with an elaborate welcome ceremony in front of the grand Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace in New Delhi, continuing the pomp and pageantry the Indian government had lavished on Mr Trump a day earlier.

Cannons fired as the president’s armoured car, nicknamed “The Beast”, rolled through the palace gates accompanied by a parade of red-uniformed guards on horseback.

Donald Trump
Mr Trump hailed the welcome he had received since arriving for the 46-hour visit (AP)

The US leader And he continued to shower praise on Mr Modi for the opulent and colourful welcome spread across three cities.

“The last two days were amazing in every sense of the word,” Trump said as he and Mr Modi briefly addressed reporters after the first of their two meetings. Trump described the trip as “unforgettable”, “extraordinary” and an expression of “love”.

Mr Modi said he was thankful Mr Trump had visited despite the presidential campaign under way in the United States.

Mr Trump has said the short India visit was partly due to presidential politics.

The Indian leader said talks to ease trade tensions between their countries would continue. Those tensions escalated after Mr Trump imposed tariffs on Indian steel and aluminium exports. India responded with higher penalties on US agricultural goods and restrictions on medical devices, prompting the US to strip India of its decades-old trade preferences.

At a meeting with Indian business leaders, the Republican president abandoned the tradition of avoiding domestic political squabbles while travelling abroad and criticised the Democratic candidates who are competing for the right to challenge his re-election bid in November, warning of economic turmoil if one of them defeats him.

He said he believes the US economy is being held back by the upcoming election and claimed that, “if the wrong person gets elected, everything will come to a halt”, and unemployment will soar.

Everywhere Mr Trump went, he encountered streets lined with cheering Indian citizens, troops of traditional dancers and roadways lined with posters and billboards celebrating his visit.

Mr Trump and first lady Melania Trump also went on a stunning sunset tour of the famed Taj Mahal.

On Tuesday, the couple participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mohandas Gandhi in New Delhi at the site where the famed Indian independence leader was cremated after his assassination in January 1948.

Mr Trump had visited Gandhi’s home on Monday.

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