A group of East Coast Indian Americans Jan. 21 announced the formation of a new political action committee to support outlier Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“Donald Trump is the right person to bring America back to a shining future. He is our best hope to make America great again,” Amar D. Amar, president of Indian Americans for Trump, told India-West.
The vision for the new PAC began at a large gathering of Indian Americans last December. Amar said he noticed an intense migration of former Democrats to the Republican Party and determined there was sufficient backing within the community to support a Republican presidential candidate. Trump has garnered massive support and is a sure bet to win the Republican Party’s nomination, he said.
The PAC’s leadership consists of several long-time Indian American Republican activists. Amar, a professor in the department of business management at Seton Hall University, has been active in New Jersey state politics for a number of years. He and his son supported New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during both his gubernatorial runs; Christie is also currently running as a Republican presidential candidate.
Amar made a bid for the U.S. Congress in 2008, but lost during the primaries.
Also involved with the new PAC is New York-based attorney Anand Ahuja, who will serve as vice president; and Devendra ‘Dave’ Makkar, who will serve as treasurer.
Surprisingly, physician Sudhir Parikh, a long-time supporter of the Bush family, will serve as the PAC’s chairman of fundraising. Parikh told India-West that despite his support for George H.W. Bush, who served as the 41st president from 1989 to 1993; and his son George Bush, who served as president from 2001 to 2008, he is fully behind Trump in the 2016 election cycle.
“Jeb Bush has no traction,” stated Parikh, adding: “If he had shown some leadership, we would have got behind him.”
Heading into the February primaries – New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina – Jeb Bush polled fifth amongst the 10 remaining Republican presidential candidates, capturing just five percent of projected votes. Trump led the field with 37 percent of the vote, with poll numbers released Jan. 24 by ABC News/Washington Post.
“The shine of the U.S. is coming off. We need a leader who can uplift the lower and middle classes, as well as help the business class to prosper. Everyone must prosper to make us shine again,” said Parikh.
Parikh, an allergist who specializes in asthma, has 23 practices around the country and employs more than 200 people. The country needs wage equality and a substantive change in the healthcare system, he asserted. Parikh is an advocate of a single-payer system – which he noted Trump would be unlikely to support – but stated that the candidate would work to lower high co-pays and deductibles, bring about state-line portability of health insurance and make coverage mandatory for all companies to offer to their employees.
Parikh said Trump would also increase the minimum wage.
Both Parikh and Amar stated their support for immigration reform which would curb the influx of people entering the country without the necessary immigration documents. They both agreed that legal immigration by people with advanced degrees and entrepreneurs could benefit the nation’s growth.
Parikh said he did not support Trump’s avowal to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., and to increase scrutiny of Muslims already living in the U.S. “That is against our constitution,” he stated.
Amar, however, told India-West: “I support the idea of banning all Muslims from the U.S. until we can figure out how to screen out terrorists.”
The business management professor pointed out that the World Trade Center was attacked by Islamic terrorists in 1993, shortly after President Bill Clinton took office. The attack, which killed six people and injured thousands, went unnoticed by the Clinton administration, alleged Amar, noting that screening measures put into place then could have prevented the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, which killed more than 3,000 people.
“We have to find out whether people entering our country are Muslims, and whether they have ties to terrorist networks or have visited countries which are strongholds for terrorists,” stated Amar. “Racial profiling doesn’t matter. American citizens should have full protection, without regard to privacy issues,” he said.
“The agenda of Donald J. Trump for President 2016 is focused on reviving the American economy, rightly bringing America on the world stage, defeating terrorism and establishing peace through strength; many Indian Americans believe that he is the best hope for America and the right candidate to be the next president of the United States,” said the PAC in a statement announcing the launch.
"On realizing that the agenda of ‘Donald J. Trump for President 2016’ is focused on reviving the American economy, rightly bringing America on the world stage, defeating terrorism and establishing peace through strength, many Indian Americans believe that he is the best hope for America and the right candidate to be the next president of the United States," the PAC said.
"The officers of Indian Americans for Trump 2016 urge all Americans to join in the effort and support Donald Trump in his endeavor to make America great again by electing him the next president of the USA," added the statement.
(This story, originally published Jan. 28, was updated Feb. 1.)