You know a political rally that advertises itself as a “Coalition for a charity event to support Kashmiri Pandits, Hindu refugees, & other victims of terror” on the one hand and a “Bollywood/tollywood/musicial extravaganza” with “Music/masti/dance” on the other isn’t going to be your average event. That's what the Republican Hindu Coalition's-charity-event-cum-concert-cum-political-rally exactly was.
One of the sequences (video above) perfectly encapsulated the tone of the rally. Two pairs of romantic dancers are attacked by "jihadists" with light sabers from Star Wars, only to be rescued by US Navy Seals. Funny in a movie, but worrying when it finds its way to reality.
Hours before this rally on Saturday, Donald Trump appeared at another one in Maine, addressing mostly a crowd of white Americans and pledged to "unite America under one god". A line that the Presidential candidate has also taken in the past.
Shalabh Kumar, the founder of the Republican Hindu Coalition, who became one of Trump's biggest backers after "seeing his heart", perhaps chose to ignore this aspect and said, “Mr Trump is all about development, development, development; prosperity, prosperity, prosperity; tremendous job growth. And at the same time, he recognises the need to control the borders.”
Even posters advertising the event chose to ignore Trump's comments on immigrants.
In an interview before the rally, Kumar gave Trump a clean chit because his derogatory comments about women was "locker room talk" and there was "no proof" in a court of law. He also said that his support for Trump came from the fact that the Republican candidate addressed the "camel" in the room – terrorism.
“I am a big fan of Hindu, and I am a big fan of India,” Trump declared as his opening statement. (Not very well briefed, was he?) He then went on to place the Indian Parliament in Mumbai and said India and the United States needed to have unity because Hillary Clinton unleashed the ISIS.
"This is so important in the age of ISIS, the barbaric threat Hillary Clinton has unleashed on the entire world." The rest of his speech (video below) continued the usual bombast about making America great again, about the falling growth in the economy which he would fix instantly and so on.
The Hindu-Americans at the rally cheered when Trump said "radical Islamic terrorist", "crooked Hilary", and expressed a desire to "repeal Obamacare".
Outside, Trump supporters heckled people holding posters that read "No More Trump/Modi rape culture" and "South Asians Dump Trump" in line with the Islamophobia of the rally. "You support Muslims", "You promote rape culture".
Here's what comments on social media had to say.
While most pointed out the absurdities of the event, a few seemed to be inspired by the song-and-dance quality of the Republican Hindu Coalition's rally.