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Trump says he is a ‘big fan of India and Hindu’; promises stronger US-India ties

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trump-with-shalabh-kumar
Republican Party nominee for President Donald Trump with RHC Chairman Shalabh Kumar

With his kind of knowledge, this is farthest the Republican nominee could reach.

Donald Trump is losing support day by day and his scanty knowledge about the world outside the business empire that he inherited from his father is destroying his White House aspirations.

When Trump was invited to a Bollywood fundraising event organized by the Republican Hindu Coalition in New Jersey, his campaign manager might have felt a lump in his throat as the same man, during an earlier speech this year, had mocked Indian call center workers.

“You ever call up on your credit card, you want to find out about your credit card,” he said. “Guess what, you’re talking to a person from India. You say, ‘how the hell does that work?’” Trump had said during a speech in April.

With his campaign taking a detour and shifting from attacking to contingency mode after recent sexual assault allegations, Trump had no choice but to change his attitude toward one of America’s growing immigrant communities that now constitutes 1% of total population of the United States.

At a fund-raising event organized by the Hindu Republican Coalition in New Jersey, which was attended by Bollywood stars Prabhu Deva, Malaika Arora Khan, Sophie Choudry and Shriya Saranon, Trump said: “I am a big fan of Hindu, and I am a big fan of India. Big, big fan.”

Here too, Trump’s inadequate understanding of the world religions played spoilsport as “Hindu” is the name of the religion and its followers are called “Hindus.”

In an interview with NDTV, Trump said: “I have great respect for Hindus and I have many friends who are Hindu and they are great people and amazing entrepreneurs.” When the journalist asked why only Hindus as India also has 14% of Muslim population, Trump lost his words and said “I have great respect for India. I actually have jobs going up in India, tremendously successful. It is an amazing country.”

When Trump was confronted with a question whether he still stand by the controversial proposal to stop all Muslims from entering the US, he said: “We have to have extreme vetting before we let people in.”

He also added: “Something is going on that’s not a positive force. We are going to be looking very much at certain areas of the world. We have to be very careful with radical Islamic terror. We can be politically correct and say it doesn’t matter but it does matter.”

The event in New Jersey also saw many people lined up outside the venue to protest against Trump and this included many from the Indian American community. While the protesters chanted slogans against Trump, his supporters hurled them with racist slurs.

According to NDTV, when Trump supporters tried to confront the protesters, one Indian woman retaliated and a White man shouted at her: “This is a Trump rally. Get the [expletive] out of here!”

The event, which was not listed as an official fundraiser for Trump, was touted as a “mega Bollywood fund-raising event in the US for victims of terror in America and around the world.”

The Republican Hindu Coalition was formed in 2015 by Shalabh Kumar, a Chicago-based business with ties to the Republican Party, with the idea to increase the engagement of Hindus in Republican politics. The group has till now donated about $1.5 million to Trump’s campaign and is also planning to donate at least $10 million to GOP candidates this election cycle.

During the event, Trump said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a “great man” and also promised that if he is elected as the president of the United States, the relationship between India and the US will improve multifold.

“Indian and Hindu community will have a true friend in the White House — that I can guarantee,” he said

He also said India will be one of his strategic allies in fighting terrorism. “We appreciate the great friend that India has been in our fight against radical Islamic terror,” he said. “We will stand shoulder to shoulder with India in sharing intelligence and keeping our people safe, mutually.”

Trump’s India stand has been very sketchy as he is opposed to H-1B visa program that allows highly skilled Indians to work in the United States. According to latest reports, half of the total H-1B visa is utilized by Indians. Another report published by Pew says Indians are the fastest growing illegal immigrants in the US with close half a million of them living in the country without proper documentation.

With over 3.1 million Indian Americans living in the United States, the community has become one of the richest immigrant communities in the US. A large majority of the Indian American workforce is serving as doctors, entrepreneurs, educators and engineers, earning an income of $88,000 per annum, as against the national average of $49,8000.

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