US President Donald Trump celebrated Diwali at his Oval office of White House on Wednesday along with senior Indian-American members of his administration saying that he greatly values his ‘very strong’ relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Today, I was deeply honored to be joined by so many administration officials and leaders of the Indian-American community – to celebrate Diwali — the Hindu Festival of Lights,” Trump said.
“As we do so, we especially remember the People of India, the home of the Hindu faith, who have built the world’s largest democracy. I greatly value my very strong relationship with Prime Minister Modi,” he added.
The US President also lit diyas on the occasion. He was joined by senior Indian-American members of his administration including Nikki Haley, his Ambassador to the United Nations and Seema Verma Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Hailing the extraordinary contributions of Indian-Americans in different fields, Trump said, “You have made extraordinary contributions to art, science, medicine, business and education. America is especially thankful for its many Indian-American citizens who serve BRAVELY in our armed forces and as first responders in communities throughout our great land,” he said.
Last year Ivanka, who is now a presidential advisor, had visited Hindu temples in Virginia and Florida as part of Diwali.
Trump, then as the Republican presidential nominee, had addressed the Indian-American community from a public meeting in New Jersey wherein he lit the traditional diya.
The tradition of Diwali celebration at White House began when George Bush was president. It was celebrated in India Treaty Room of the adjacent executive office building, which is part of the White House Complex. However, he never personally participated in the White House Diwali celebrations.
His successor Barack Obama lit the ceremonial Diya in the East Rook of the White House. Thereafter he made it a point in celebrating the festival of lights in one way or the year.