So far, Trump has been silent on the killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla.
President Donald Trump’s silence on the killing of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Olathe, Kansas, raises the question whether Indian Americans and Indians have a “true friend in the White House.”
Trump, who said during the campaign that he is a “great fan” of India, has so far spoken nothing on the brutal hate crime, in which Kuchibhotla and another India-born engineer, Alok Madsani, were shot by a former Navy vet after being racially profiled.
Madsani, survived with minor injuries. The killer, US Navy veteran Adam W. Purinton, was arrested the same day.
The shooting shocked the Indian American community and tens of thousands of Indians employed in the United States.
So far, the only response that came from the White House was from press secretary Sean Spicer, who termed the incident “tragic” during a press conference on Monday. Spicer was bombarded with questions about the president’s choice to keep mum on the issue.
When asked whether the attack on Indians have any correlation with Trump’s earlier anti-immigrant rhetoric, the press secretary called such reports “absurd”.
All eyes will be on Trump’s Tuesday night address at the joint session of Congress, where he has the opportunity to condemn the attack, and send a condolence message to the family of Kuchibhotla.
Neera Tanden, the President of the Center for American Progress, a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., criticized Trump’s silence.
Tanden tweeted “More disquieting? Let me spell it out for you…. His silence condones a hate crime. Plain and simple.”
Addressing a public gathering at Garmin last week, Sunayana Dumala, wife of Kuchibhotla, demanded answers from the government on what actions it would take to eliminate hate crime.
In a fund-raising event organized by the Republican Hindu Coalition in New Jersey, weeks before the presidential election, Trump had said, “If I’m elected president, the Indian and Hindu community will have a true friend in the White House, that I can guarantee you.”
But that was then.
Trump’s silence has not gone unnoticed in Kansas and other parts of the country.
“Trump has offered no words of condolence for the grieving widow of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, who died from his gunshot wounds. The president has expressed no sympathy for Kuchibhotla’s best friend, Alok Madasani, who continues to recover from bullet wounds and the trauma,” the Kansas City Star wrote in an editorial.
“Trump usually loves to celebrate all-American heroes. But he’s passed on commending Ian Grillot, a bystander who leapt to take the gunman down before anyone else was harmed. Grillot was shot, too,” it added.
Indian American engineer shot dead in Olathe, Kansas, in apparent hate crime (February 23, 2017)
Who is Srinivas Kuchibhotla? (February 24, 2017)
Killer asked Kuchibhotla and Madasani what visas were they on: report (February 25, 2017)
Indian American leader calls for unanimous action against hate crime (February 28, 2017)
Trump administration calls Kansas killing ‘disturbing’ (February 28, 2017)