PHOTO BY: Trump tweet
Diya Lighting Trump with Raj Shah in the background

Just before lighting the Diya, President Donald Trump said: “I will now light the Diya. And it's a great honor to be here. These are tremendous people. Tremendous, tremendous people. And thank you all very much. I appreciate it. Thank you.



Washington, DC – The US President Donald Trump on Tuesday (Nov. 13) hosted his government officials of Indian heritage in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for a “Diwali Ceremonial Lighting of the Diya.” Diwali is known as the Festival of Lights and Diya is the small lamp lit on the occasion.

Welcoming his select audience President Trump said, “I’m grateful to have numerous Americans of Indian and Southeast Asian heritage who fulfill critical roles across my administration.” In his opening remarks Trump said, “I am thrilled to be here for the celebration of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, and I am honored to host this beautiful ceremony at the White House. Very, very special people.”

Modi Now Friend of Ivanka Also

Calling India, “the world’s largest democracy,” Trump said, “The relationship between our two countries can act as a bulwark for freedom, prosperity, and peace.” adding, “As we light the Diya in the White House, and we join in the fellowship with all of those who light lamps in their own homes, cities, and places of worship.”

Noting that the US “has deep ties to the nation of India,” President Trump expressed gratitude for his ’friendship with (Indian) Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi.” Trump disclosed that his daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump had “really just got back from India,” adding, “Had an incredible time there. Met with the Prime Minister, Modi, who’s my friend, and now her friend.”

Nomination of Neomi Rao

President Trump also took the opportunity to announce his intention to nominate Neomi Rao to the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Rao, who is now the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, in the Office of Management and Budget (OBM), will fill the appeals court seat vacated by the now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Announcing her nomination, Trump told the audience, “I won’t say today that I just nominated Neomi to be on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the seat of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.” Amid applause, Trump continued: “We were going to announce that tomorrow … I thought it was an appropriate place. So, we’re 24 hours early, but she’s going to be fantastic. Great person.”

Raj Shah Gets Accolades

Trump also introduced his government officials in attendance: Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the FCC; Seema Verma, CMS Administrator; Neil Chatterjee, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; Uttam Dhillon, Acting Administrator of Drug Enforcement; Manisha Singh, Acting Under Secretary of State.

President Trump had special words of praise for Raj Shah, his Deputy White House Press Secretary, as he called out Raj, extolling his excellent performance, “Good job. Raj has been with us for a long time, and what a great job he does.”

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