‘Many Indian Americans likely in Trump govt’

Washington: Several Indian Americans are being considered for positions in the Trump administration as they all qualify on merit and ethnicity is not an issue, the highest ranking Indian-origin politician in the Republican party has said.

“I know of several Indian Americans in consideration for positions. I am not at liberty to mention their names, but there are many people under consideration for positions in a Trump administration,” Harmeet Dhillon, a member of the Republican National Committee, told PTI.

President-elect Donald Trump has already created history by nominating Nikki Haley, Republican governor of South Carolina, for the Cabinet-level position of US Ambassador to the UN.

If confirmed by the Senate, Haley would be the first Indian American to serve in the cabinet of a presidential administration.

Chandigarh-born Dhillon, who opened the second night of the Republican Convention in Cleveland in July by delivering a Sikh prayer, said unlike the Democrats, the Republican party recognises people based on merit and not ethnicity.

“The new administration is going to place people according to merit. I do not think they have any particular goal of placing Indian Americans versus other ethnic groups. I think they would be looking to put the best people in the position.

I am sure in that process many qualified Indian Americans would become part of the administration,” she said.

San Francisco-based Dhillon, 47, an experienced lawyer of repute, said she would also be willing to consider a senior position in the administration.

“If I am asked to serve in a senior capacity, I will certainly consider it. Of course, the focus right now is on Cabinet level appointment at this time,” she said.

Dhillon said she is encouraged by the top picks so far by president-elect Trump.

“(The RNC Chairman) Reince Priebus (who has been picked as White House Chief of Staff) is certainly somebody who I know personally and respect. He is going to be the president’s right hand man. His choices are solid. Many of the people who I have seen coming in and out with the president-elect are really outstanding people,” she said.

“I think, his main challenge is out of many, many great qualified Americans going to help, which one does he pick,” Dhillon said.

On the view that the Democratic party believes in “politics of racial identity…women, black or Indian,” Dhillon asserted that this is not the case with Republicans.

“We do not do that in our party. We focus on things that are common to all Americans: employment, taxes, national security, liberty, regulations, running a business. This is how we approach the electorate,” she said.