Washington, DC – A Republican Indian American advisor to President Donald Trump reacted as Indian Americans hosted an event “Impact” urging fellow politicians to expand the ranks of Indian Americans in government, politics, and public service.
Puneet Ahluwalia, from President Trump’s Asian Pacific Advisory Committee praised and criticized in the same vein as Democrat Senators Kamala Harris from California and Cory Booker from New Jersey led the way for the speakers. There were over 200 Democrat Party leaning Indian American candidates, elected officials, philanthropists, leaders, and activists in attendance at the inaugural Impact Summit in Washington, DC.
Senator Booker in his opening keynote remarks said, “We so urgently need Indian American leadership — not just because of the dynamism it has brought to other sectors of American society — but also because this is a time when the very idea of America is under assault.” With an indirect assault on Republican Party affiliated US President Donald Trump’s policies, Booker added, “We have a time now where Indian American pride, where Indian American strength, where Indian American ideas are critically needed.”
First Indian-heritage US Senator Kamala Harris in her closing keynote remarks urged the Democrat Party leaning audience to “speak truth.” Harris also focussed on the anti-immigrant policies of President Trump arguing, “This country was founded by immigrants. Unless you’re native American or your ancestors were kidnapped and brought over on a slave ship, you people are immigrants.”
Welcoming the efforts, Ahluwalia said, “I applaud the effort of the Indian Americans and the organizers of Impact Project to propel the community in the mainstream politics. It is heartening to see the excitement and a sense of arrival on the political scene.” On the subject-line followed by the speakers to lambast Republican policies, especially ones of President Trump, Ahluwalia reminded his fellow citizens with the same heritage and background, “But it is President Trump who appointed the first Indian American, Ambassador Nikki Haley to a cabinet position along with many others. The Republican Party and its leadership has done far for more for the Indian Americans and India under their governance.”
“The real truth is to talk about legal immigration and work with Republican president and its leadership in identifying solutions for those who are in our country illegally. But when offered opportunity, the democrats make it into a political theatre,” noted Ahluwalia. He lamented that “at every platform the Democrats and their leaders always blame President Trump and Republican leadership for their commonsense policies by giving lip service and empty words to make inroads into the community.”
US lawmakers Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, and Raja Krishnamoorthi attended and also gave remarks. Also in attendance were over 40 elected officials and candidates, including Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla and eight candidates for the US House of Representatives.
“This historic summit is proof that the Indian American community has truly arrived on the political scene,” said Raj Goyle, co-founder of Impact and a former member of the Kansas House of Representatives.
“The energy, enthusiasm, and talent of our elected officials and candidates is truly inspiring,” added Deepak Raj, co-founder of Impact and chair of the Impact Fund. “Impact is proud to stand with them — and we look forward to expanding their ranks at every level of elected office.”
Founded in 2016 by Raj Goyle and Deepak Raj, and formally launched earlier this year, the Indian American Impact Project is supposed to focus on encouraging Americans of Indian heritage to run for office and an affiliated organization, the Indian American Impact Fund, endorses and supports Indian American candidates running for office. But in reality the organizational setup, speeches and other allied flavors are all Democrat in essence and nature.