Washington, DC – The White House today (October 17) celebrated the Indian Festival of Lights, Diwali in the Oval Office. Press access for this event was canceled at the last minute.
In the presence of a select audience, US President Donald J. Trump participated in the Diwali ceremonial lighting of the Diya. The following were present:
· US Ambassador Nikki Haley, United Nations
· Administrator Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
· Chairman Ajit Pai, US Federal Communications Commission
· South Asian members of the Trump Administration
· Members of the Indian American community
The press coverage was denied at the last minute.
The journalists and camera crew including myself from India America Today waited on the Colonnade for about 20 minutes before being told shortly before 3:30 p.m. that press coverage of the Diwali lighting ceremony in the Oval Office had been canceled. No immediate explanation was given. The lighting was not canceled, but it was closed press.
Diwali is the five-day festival of lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. The festival, which coincides with the Hindu New Year, celebrates new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.