People of Asian Pacific descent, including Indians, are an “indispensable” part of “American story” and President Donald Trump is committed to strengthening them, Vice President Mike Pence has said. Pence was speaking at a reception held at the White House last evening to mark the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
“This room is living proof that people of Asian-Pacific descent — from Indonesia to India, from the Solomon Islands to South Korea, from every nation in between — you are an indispensable part of the American story, and your communities have contributed leaders like those two standing next to me in every facet of American life,” Pence said, pointing to Indian-American Seema Verma, Administrator of the Center of Medicaid and Elaine Chao, Medicare Services and Transportation Secretary.
Pence, who along with his wife Karen had travelled to the Asia Pacific region last month, said throughout his trip he saw the immensely varied and vibrant cultures. “It made me all the more grateful that those cultures and their people and so many others from the continent of Asia and islands of the Pacific have come here and made such a profound impact on the US,” he said.
“President Trump is firmly committed to strengthening the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the years ahead, to seeing to it that your forbears, the confidence that they had in America, becomes your reality on an increasing basis.
“Because your success is America’s success, and this President wants you and every American, no matter the background, to accomplish more, to climb higher, to make tomorrow even better than today,” he said.
“The truth is that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are an integral part of America’s past, but they’re even a bigger part of America’s future. So today I say with confidence our future is brighter than ever before. For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, I know with your help, we will make America great again,” Pence said.
In her remarks, Verma talked about growing up in the US as a second generation immigrant from India where nobody around her looked like her and people asked her tribe. She also talked about her parents’ arrival in the US from India and her mother ruining silk saris she had brought with her from India by putting them in a washing machine, and people who had helped her family settle in.
She said people now ask her which part of India her family is from, and know India for yoga, and meditation. She joked about her father’s criticism of her 95 per cent score in a test and her son’s announcement of an 89 per cent in a math test dubbed by her daughter as an “Asian fail”. She said her presence in the White House was a proof of American immigrants’ ability to succeed.
“This administration has recognised our contributions,” Chao said. “Our community has been able to thrive in mainstream America because we share many of the same values,” she added.