The political debate in the current election season has turned Americans against each other, Indian-American Neera Tanden from the Clinton campaign has claimed, while her counterpart from the Trump’s camp said the national prestige has gone down under the Obama regime. “The political debate this election season is turning Americans against each other,” Tanden, co-chair of the Clinton Transition Team said during the first ‘Town Hall Meeting: Election 2016’.
The townhall was organized by the DC chapter of South Asian Bar Association (SABA).
“Some people are turned away from events because of how they look like is a very unfortunate development,” she said in response to a question.
The Trump Campaign, represented by Puneet Ahluwalia who was recently appointed as the its advisor on Asia Pacific American Advisory Body.
Ahluwalia alleged the prestige and reputation of the United States under the Obama Administration has come down and terrorism is on the rise.
“The country is on a disastrous path. Our national prestige is down. We have to bring our country back again,” he said.
Tanden disagreed strongly to the allegations and claimed the friends and allies of the US are today worried and anxious a lot because of the rhetoric of Trump.
“If she (Clinton) is so fortunate to be the president she would have an administration that would look like America,” she said.
Referring to the fact that Clinton was the founder of co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, Tanden said the Democratic presidential nominee is in the best interest of Indian-Americans and Indo-US relationship.
The two Indian-American leaders from the GOP and Democratic parties sparred on various policy issues including economy, tax, jobs, health care and student loans.
“This election has repercussions well beyond the executive, it will no doubt have a significant impact on Congress and the Supreme Court,” Rahul Das, chief of SABA said.
“Donald Trump has vented the frustration of a lot of middle American youth,” Ahluwalia said, adding that jobs of youths have been taken away.
“He has given a sign to them that things have to change for the better,” he said.
Responding to a question if the candidate is a role model for the child, the two Indian-Americans raised the personal allegations against the two presidential candidates.
Tanden first referred to the recent surfacing of a video in which Trump is seen making lewd remarks about women.
Ahluwalia asked the young lawyers not to think about becoming a White House intern, because of the past allegation on former US President Bill Clinton.
He said Trump is a role model and as a successful businessman, the Republican presidential nominee has raised some great kids.
Citing some of the rhetorics against minorities, Sikhs and Muslims, Tanden said Trump can never be a role model.
Referring to the accomplishments of the Bush Administration, Ahluwalia said Indo-US relations will be best under a Republican Administration.
Responding to a question on Trump’s presence at an Indian American event in New Jersey, he said it shows that Trump has respect for the Indian-Americans and Hindus.
“The party is open to immigrants who are willing to abide by the rules and enjoy the success of America,” he added.
Countering him, Tanden said , “this election cycle has been stark. For the first time I have faced anti-India slur and hate messages. I have been told that I would be deported, though I am born in the US,”
“Do you know of an Indian-American who was thrown out of a Trump event,” she said referring to the level of intolerance in Trump Campaign and event.