In a matter of eight months, the administration has appointed 10 Indian Americans to key portfolios.
When Trump took charge of the White House after a defining victory in the 2016 Presidential elections, a majority of the Indian American community members were in dismay as they have historically supported the Democrats.
Leaving a few names such as that of Shalab Kumar, not many Indian American big shots backed the rise of Trump from a businessman to the President of the United States.
There were also apprehensions whether Trump administration would induct Indian Americans. But, recent appointments by White House have addressed this concern and in a matter of eight months, the administration has appointed 10 Indian Americans to key portfolios.
Let’s look at the Indian Americans appointed by the Trump administration in important positions:
Indian American Raj Shah, 32, was appointed by Trump on September 11 as Deputy Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Press Secretary. Shah, who earlier served as Deputy Communications Director, was among the first few Trump confidants who were appointed to White House in January soon after taking office.
Shah had also served as a research assistant in the George W Bush administration.He was also a prominent face in John McCain’s election campaign.
Shah’s parents came to the US in the 1980s. He was born and brought-up in Connecticut.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was confirmed as the US Ambassador to the United Nations, in January. Moments after the Senate vote, Haley resigned as South Carolina’s governor.
Haley was one of the Republicans who criticized Trump during the GOP primary and endorsed one of his rivals, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
She’s was the first woman to be confirmed to Trump’s cabinet.
The South Carolina-born daughter of Indian immigrants later moved to New York to take up her post at United Nations headquarters.
Trump nominated Ajit Pai, an Indian American commissioner in the US communications regulatory agency, for chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in January.
He was one of the four sitting FCC commissioners.
FCC is a federal agency that primarily regulates radio, television, phone, cellphone spectrum and services, internet and satellite and cable.
Ajit Pai’s was heavily criticized for his net neutrality policy. He was accused of wavering the policy to help concentration of power in the hands of a few giant service providers.
Indian American lawyer Neomi Rao was appointed by the Trump administration as the head of Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in July.
Rao plays a very important role in helping Trump fulfill his campaign promise to roll back unnecessary red tape and unleash the full potential of the American economy.
She also gives inputs to the administration to provide regulatory relief and make our country more competitive.
Soon after his election victory, in November 2016, Trump announced Indian American Dr. Seema Verma as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Verma took charge on March 14, 2017.
Verma played a significant role in drafting Trumpcare or the Obamacare Repeal and Replace bill.
Before her induction into the Trump administration, Verma was the CEO of a health policy consulting firm SVS Inc, a firm she founded. There she was the architect of Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), which has been billed as the country’s first consumer-director Medicaid program. The health insurance program, designed for people with low income, requires participants to pay into a health savings account and has high deductibles.
Vishal Amin was appointed in August as the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator in the Executive Office of the President.
Amin, a Michigan resident, was a Senior Counsel on the House Judiciary Committee and also served in the George W Bush administration.
He served in two capacities, first as an Associate Director for Domestic Policy at the White House, and then at the US Department of Commerce, as Special Assistant and Associate Director for Policy in the Office of the Secretary.
Krishna R. Urs
Krishna Urs, a veteran American diplomat and currently the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Madrid, Spain was appointed as the next United States Ambassador to Peru.
He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs and Chief US Government Aviation Negotiator at the Department of State from November 2010 until June 2014.
Urs also served several other diplomatic positions. He is an expert in economic issues and developed extensive policy experience in the Andean region of South America.
Neil Chatterjee was appointed by the Trump administration as a member of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in August.
Chatterjee is a longtime associate of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was chosen for the term expiring in 2021.
He also worked as Principal in Government Relations for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and as an aide to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce of Ohio.
President Trump nominated Indian American Manisha Singh to a key post of to the post of Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, putting her in charge of an important position of dealing with US economic diplomacy.
Singh’s appointment is pending Senate approval. She is currently the Chief Counsel, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), was the former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Programs in the Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs.
Indian American attorney Uttam Dhillon was appointed by Trump as his special assistant and associate counsel.
Dhillon, who is an expert in ethics and law, is working with the legal team that serves under White House Counsel Donald F McGahn.
Dhillon, a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, was the chief oversight counsel for the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services.
He has also worked as an associate deputy general in President George W. Bush’s administration and as the director of counter-narcotics enforcement in the Department of Homeland Security.