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Indian-Americans trending Donald Trump on social media for 2016

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Photo: bgr.com

New Delhi: Indian-Americans’ political preferences seem to be shifting in favor of the Republican Party, particularly Donald Trump, its front runner for the White House.

According to social media trends, the US’s third largest ethnic group is overwhelmingly supporting Trump — a billionaire real estate businessman-turned-politician who has courted many controversies ever since he jumped into the fray.

Indians in the US have traditionally been the vote bank for the Democrats. According to a study, as many as 65 percent of Indian-Americans leaned towards Democrats, making them the Asian-American subgroup most likely to identify with the party.

But this time there has been a shift, arguably for the first time in the American electoral history.

Several groups of Indian-Americans, a majority of them Hindus, have taken the social media route to voice their support for Trump. As the 2016 presidential election draws closer, various online communities and pages have come up in support of the realtor.

One such page on Facebook is “Hindus For Trump”. With around 750 “likes”, the page in its description says: “American Hindus are model citizens, educated, and industrious. We want a responsible nation where Americans are both safe and free.”

The page portrays Trump as Hindu god Vishnu, making him seated on what looks like a lotus with “Om” written at its center.

There is also a Political Action Committee (PAC), formed by leading Indian American businessmen to pool in support and contribution for an effective presidential campaign of Trump. PAC is a type of organization that pools campaign contributions from members and donates those funds to campaign for or against candidates or legislations.

Indian-Americans For Trump 2016, one of the PACs supporting Trump, is formed by the members of the American-Hindu community, including Sudhir Parikh, who is the advisory chair of the organization.

Parikh is the owner of Parikh World Media, an umbrella corporation which houses news outlets influential among Hindus such as Desi Talk, the Indian American and the Gujarat Times.

However, this is not the first presidential endorsement by Hindus for Trump. The world renowned and cross-sectional Indian American Intellectuals Forum (IAIF) endorsed him for the White House in August 2015 in its widely-circulated “India World Geopolitics” newspaper.

Although there has been a massive support for Trump from the Hindu community, a fraction of people from the Muslim community also seems to be supporting him, undeterred by his controversial remarks against the community.

Trump in one of his addresses said that “Islam hates us” and asserted that those having hatred against the US be denied entry into the country. He also called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.

The Republican has also made scathing remarks against the immigrants in his addresses.

Indian-Americans are among the most highly educated, racial or ethnic groups in the US, according to a Pew Research Centre study.

According to the study, Hindus make for 51 percent of 3.2 million Indian-Americans, while Christians and Muslims comprise of 18 and 10 percent respectively.(Prashant Kumar, IANS)

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions Steps Down As Asked By Donald Trump

It remains to be seen whether Trump will tap Whitaker for the job permanently and send his name to the Senate for confirmation.

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions attends a news conference on the arrest of a suspect in the sending of at least a dozen parcel bombs to Democratic politicians and high-profile critics of President Trump. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump forced his controversial Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign Wednesday, setting up a possible showdown with newly energized congressional Democrats over the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Sessions, in a resignation letter to Trump, wrote that he was stepping down at “your request,” accepting a fait accompli he’d long sought to avert despite Trump’s repeated public humiliations of the attorney general over his recusal from oversight of the Russia probe.

The forced departure of Sessions, a former Republican senator and early supporter of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, capped a turbulent tenure that hit a rough patch in early 2017 when he stepped aside from the Russia investigation shortly after taking office.

Trump blamed Sessions’ recusal for the speedy appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and, over the course of the attorney general’s 20-month tenure, repeatedly castigated Sessions for failing to rein in what he called a “witch hunt” being led by Mueller and “17 Angry Democrats.”

While undertaking a wholesale repeal of Obama-era policies and implementing Trump’s tough-on-crime and immigration agenda, Sessions was increasingly shunned by the president, to the point that Trump told an interviewer earlier this year, “I don’t have an attorney general.”

In a pair of tweets Wednesday afternoon announcing Sessions’ resignation, Trump thanked the attorney general for his service and said Matt Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff and a former U.S. attorney under former President George W. Bush, would take over as acting attorney general. A permanent replacement would be announced later, Trump said.

Though long expected, Sessions’ departure fueled Democratic fears that Trump may be maneuvering to assert control over the Mueller investigation through a trusted appointee or possibly shut down it all together.

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U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledges supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. VOA

Congressional probe urged

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House oversight committee and a frequent Trump critic, urged Congress to investigate “the real reason” for the attorney general’s “termination.”

At a testy White House news conference earlier Wednesday, Trump said he could end the Mueller investigation “right now,” but “I stay away from it … I let it just go on.”

Other Democratic congressional leaders, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Mark Warner issued nearly identical tweets urging Whitaker to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, citing his vocal criticism of the probe.

 

“Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general,” Schumer tweeted.

 

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Then-Iowa Republican senatorial candidate and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker is pictured before a televised debate in Johnston, Iowa. VOA

 

Whitaker served as U.S. attorney for the southern district of Iowa from 2004 to 2009. According to his LinkedIn profile, he headed Foundations for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a self-described ethics watchdog, until September 2017, shortly before joining the Justice Department.

In an opinion piece for CNN.com in July 2017, two months after Mueller’s appointment, Whitaker wrote that he agreed with Trump that investigating the president’s finances fell outside Mueller’s mandate, and he urged Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to limit the special counsel’s authority.

‘In charge of all matters’

Asked whether Whitaker would take control of the Russia probe, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said, “The acting attorney general is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice.”

Flores did not directly answer questions about whether Whitaker had consulted or planned to consult Justice Department ethics experts on whether he should recuse himself from the Russia probe.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., departs Capitol Hill, Oct. 6, 2018, in Washington. VOA

“We’re following regular order here,” she wrote via email.

John Malcolm, a former federal prosecutor now with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group, said he saw no reason for Whitaker to step aside.

“He is the acting attorney general. He has no reason to recuse himself,” Malcolm told VOA.

Malcolm said Sessions did “a solid job of implementing the president’s law enforcement priorities,” and he praised the attorney general for “protecting the integrity of the department and trying to keep it above politics.”

It remains to be seen whether Trump will tap Whitaker for the job permanently and send his name to the Senate for confirmation.

Also Read: U.S. Midterm Elections See Muslim American Women Making History

Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and close Trump ally, tweeted that he looked “forward to working with President Trump to find a confirmable, worthy successor. (VOA)