US media covers Trump-Modi event in Houston like a domestic story

Howdy Modi


American media highlights Trump’s courting of Indian American voters, Kashmir.

With more than 50,000 cheering Indian American in audience, it was a show time for President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And the US media covered the unprecedented joint appearance by the two leaders like a domestic story.

The paper of record New York Times took a dig at the duo terming the event as “quite a rah-rah Lone Star State show, boasting Indian-Texan cheerleaders.” The Times’ opinion columnist Roger Cohen reminded the readers that the event was less than two months after depriving Kashmir of its special autonomy that Trump chose to signal his approval of the action by standing side-by-side with the prime minister. Though both leaders are not alike, they are both “forceful, media-savvy politicians,” he wrote.

RELATED: Modi, Trump reaffirm commitment to US-India ties at Houston mega rally (September 23, 2019)

The Washington Post‘s Jacqueline Alemany wrote that “Trump and Modi, are in many ways, cut from the same cloth – right wing populist leaders that stir huge crowds with big personalities, who have faced for polarizing their country’s electorates.” She concluded that the show was grabbed by Trump to make a “direct pitch to expand his share of support among Indian Americans in his 2020 reelection” as an estimated 4 million Indian Americans live in the US.

CNBC said the event has given Modi, a nationalist facing international criticism over a recent crackdown in disputed Kashmir, a “chance to energize his relationship with Indian Americans who are active political supporters.” Citing unattributed polls which revealed that about 75 percent of the Indian Americans didn’t vote for Trump, it said the show in Texas will be critical to his 2020 re-election bid.

USA Today‘s Courtney Subramanium took exception to both the leaders who he said are “known for brash styles, contempt for the news media and a predilection for 280-character missives to huge followings on Twitter.”

The event was also covered extensively by the international media.

Brajesh Upadhyay of the BBC said “Howdy Modi” served the interests of both the leaders. “For President Trump, it was a chance to court Indian Americans for the 2020 presidential election race where Texas could emerge as a battleground state. For Mr Modi, a PR triumph and picture with the president of the United States may help him shrug off the criticism over his recent strong-arm polices at home,” he wrote.

Focusing on anti-Modi demonstrations outside the stadium, Al Jazeera‘s Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath criticized India for its actions. “I do not believe that most of the Hindus that are supporting Modi really, truly, understand the extent to which the [Hindu nationalist] forces are aligned with fascism,” she wrote quoting Sunita Viswanath, co-founder of Hindus for Human Rights.


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