Trump lighting a lamp on the occasion of Diwali. Photo: Facebook ( Donald J. Trump)
US President Donald Trump
has hailed the extraordinary contributions of Indian-Americans to science, medicine, business and education in the country as he celebrated his first Diwali
at the White House.
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.
Ajit Pai, Chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission and Raj Shah, his Principal Deputy Press Secretary also joined Diwali
"As we do (celebrate Diwali) so, we especially remember the People of India, the home of the Hindu faith, who have built the world's largest democracy," Trump
said in a Facebook
post along with a video of his Diwali
celebrations inside the Oval Office.
said he greatly valued his "very strong relationship" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
said he was deeply honoured to be joined by so many administration officials and leaders of the Indian-American community in celebrating Diwali
-- the festival of lights.
The president's daughter Ivanka also joined him in celebrations, according to a picture released by the White House.
In his remarks, Trump
said Indian-American neighbours and friends have made incredible contributions to the country and to the world.
"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.
"Today, we proudly celebrate this holiday in THE PEOPLES HOUSE. In so doing, we reaffirm that Indian-Americans and Hindu-Americans are truly cherished, treasured and beloved members of our great American family," Trump
Diwali, he said, is one of the most important celebrations in the Hindu religion.
"A time of peace and prosperity for the New Year, it is a tradition that is held dear by more than 1 billion Hindus worldwide and more than 2 million Hindus in the United States. It is also celebrated by millions of Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains in America, India
and around the world," he said.
The tradition of Diwali
celebration at the White House
was first started by President George Bush.
During his term, it was celebrated mostly in the India
Treaty Room of the adjacent executive office building, which is part of the White House
Bush never personally participated in the White House Diwali
In the first year of his presidency, former president Barack Obama lit the ceremonial Diya in the East Room of the White House.
In his last year in office in 2016, Obama for the first time observed the festival of lights in the Oval Office.