By Geeta Goindi
Washington, DC, November 14, 2020 – In a statement released on the day Diwali is being observed, President Donald Trump greeted Indians around the world celebrating the joyous festival of lights, an auspicious occasion that ushers prosperous new beginnings.
“The First Lady and I send our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Diwali this week”, he said.
The president who touts a faith and opportunity initiative under his watch underscored the importance of religious freedom in his message.
“The United States is a deeply faithful nation and I am proud of my administration’s work defending the constitutional right of all Americans to live and worship according to their conscience”, he said. “Wherever Americans light diyas to celebrate Diwali, our nation shines bright as a beacon of religious liberty for all people”.
Conspicuous by its absence this year was a ‘diya’ (traditional Indian lamp) lighting ceremony at the White House. Trump has celebrated the festival of lights for three consecutive years joined by Indian-Americans in his administration. In his second year, the ceremony was even open to the press. Not this time around as the president is reportedly dejected, still bristling over his election defeat.
Also conspicuous by its absence was any mention of the novel coronavirus and the havoc it has caused particularly here in America. In a veiled reference to the pandemic, Trump said, “This year, we are especially reminded to cherish and give thanks for the companionship of our friends and family. The First Lady and I wish the millions of people in the United States and around the world observing Diwali a joyous celebration and prosperous new beginnings”, he stated.