NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have hit it off well with US President Donald Trump during his state visit to Washington in June last year, but his hope of being hosted at Camp David, the presidential retreat some 100 km northwest of Washington, DC, ‘to bond’ with the US president did not materialize.
Camp David is described as a place which offers the President “solitude, tranquillity, and a place to host foreign leaders,” and President Jimmy Carter hosted Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin there before they signed the Camp David accord in September 1978. Trump, however, prefers hosting world leaders at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
In his new book, Fear: Trump In The White House, American investigative journalist Bob Woodward devotes a few paragraphs to Modi’s visit. The 448-page book, touted as an ‘insider’s account’ of the White House under Trump’s presidency, has a lot of quotes attributed to Trump on various subjects.
“The prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, who had been courted assiduously by (Barack) Obama, was coming for a visit to the United States in June to see Trump. India was the counterweight to Pakistan, which was giving the new administration as much trouble as it had given previous ones by hedging maddeningly on terrorism. Modi wanted to go to Camp David and have dinner, bond with Trump,” says Woodward.
However, when then-National Security Adviser HR McMaster went to check on this with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, he was told: "It’s not in the cards. We’re just going to do dinner here. It’s what the president wants."
Says Woodward: “The later event for Modi was a ‘no-frills’ cocktail reception. The dinner was at the White House.”