Donald Trump awkardly tries to speak Hindi in new campaign video
Indian-American voters aren’t a typical target for U.S. presidential candidates, but in a new campaign video, Donald Trump attempts to speak Hindi, just in time for the Diwali holiday.
The 29-second video begins with Indian music and footage of Trump lighting Diwali candles and clips from a speech he made at a Republican Hindu Coalition event in New Jersey on the eve of the Hindu festival of lights, celebrated each fall.
After it cuts through an image of the 2008 attack on the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, the ad finishes with Trump sitting at his desk, saying, “Ab ki Baar Trump Sarkar.” Helpful yellow subtitles show the translation as “This time, a Trump government,” which is a riff off a campaign slogan of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“They are great leaders and they both talk from their heart,” one attendee at the New Jersey event told VICE News. “So the job Modi has done in the last two and three years, I think Trump can be able to do that here, because they are both strong.”
“I’m really happy with his speech,” another member of the audience said. “He said what I expected to see about the border, about terrorism, radical Islamic terrorism, and bring the jobs back, you know.”
A New York Times report earlier this month noted that the GOP nominee has managed to appeal to a small but enthusiastic faction of Hindu nationalists in India and the Indian diaspora, who seem to identify with his “strongman brand of politics,” and anti-Muslim rhetoric.
But small groups of Indian-American Trump supporters likely don’t represent the community at large. There are roughly 2.5 million Indians in the U.S., concentrated mostly in California, New York, and New Jersey, according to the 2010 Census.
Polls conducted by the National Asian-American Survey in August and September show that roughly 7 percent of Indian-Americans support Donald Trump, far less than the 16 percent who supported Mitt Romney in 2012.
NYU politics professor Kanchan Chandra wrote in a Washington Post op-ed last week that the views of this small group don’t represent Indian-Americans as a whole.
“The real story when it comes to the political preferences of Indian-Americans — and Hindus in particular — is not that Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric is attracting some but that it is repelling most,” he wrote.