Since mounting his unlikely White House bid in 2015, the president’s ability to draw thousands of adoring fans to raucous rallies has been a point of pride in his political identity. President Donald Trump frequently brags about -- and often exaggerates -- the size of his crowds.
But he hasn’t seen anything the likes of which he will experience when he arrives in India on Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to treat the crowd-adoring 45th president to what is expected to be his biggest rally ever.
More than 100,000 people are expected to turn out Monday when Trump joins Modi for an inaugural event at the newly-constructed and world’s largest cricket stadium located in Modi’s home state of Gujarat.
The event is dubbed "Namaste Trump," which translates to "Greetings Trump." Modi is, in a sense, returning the favor after Trump hosted him in Houston last year for a "Howdy Modi" rally that drew a crowd of some 50,000 people, many of them Indian American.
The president declared Modi to be "one of America’s greatest, most-devoted and most-loyal friends" before the assembled crowd, which set a record as the largest-ever gathering for a foreign leader in the United States.
Trump was clearly looking forward to Monday’s event in India, claiming that millions are expected to show up.
"It’s going to be very exciting. But (Modi) says between the stadium and the airport, we’ll have about seven million people. So it’s going to be very exciting. I hope you all enjoy it," Trump told reporters Feb. 18.
But that figure appears to be exaggerated. The turnout is expected to be in the range of 100-200,000 people -- between the stadium’s allowance for approximately 100,000 people and the tens of thousands more people expected to line the streets of the motorcade’s route to the stadium, according to local media reports.
Regardless, the scale of the crowd size will be an impressive welcome for Trump on his maiden trip to India as president and will dwarf even the largest of mega-rallies Trump has hosted in the United States.
On Sunday, as he left the White House, he told reporters that he looked forward to being with the people of India.
"I hear it's going to be a big event -- some people say the biggest event they've ever had in India -- that's what the prime minister told me," Trump said.
While the elaborate welcome is no doubt flattering, Tanvi Madan, an expert on India at the Brookings Institution, said it is expected in India for any visiting U.S. president -- popular or not -- to get an elaborate and boisterous welcome.
"In some ways, American presidents go to India to feel loved. They get a huge amount of welcome," Madan said.
"Even President (George W.) Bush, who was not considered to be very popular around the world, when he went to India towards the end of his administration, when he was getting criticized in U.S. allies and in other places, his popularity rating was very high and his favorability ratings were very high in India.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh then hugged him and told him, 'All of India loves you.'"