‘That’s no way to talk about friends’: Biden scolds Trump over ‘filthy’ India
Donald Trump had sought to defend his record on climate crisis and his decision to exit the Paris Accord, alleging the global agreement was partial to India, China and Russia that were more polluting.Updated: Oct 25, 2020, 10:33 IST
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden slammed US President Donald Trump on Saturday for calling India “filthy” and admonished him for speaking that way about “friends”.
“President Trump called India ‘filthy’,” Biden wrote in a tweet. “It’s not how you talk about friends—and it’s not how you solve global challenges like climate change.”
He added, referring to his Indian-descent running mate Kamala Harris, “@KamalaHarris and I deeply value our partnership—and will put respect back at the center of our foreign policy.”
During an exchange at their final presidential debate on Thursday, Trump had sought to defend his record on climate crisis and his decision to exit the Paris Accord, alleging the global agreement was partial to India, China and Russia that were more polluting.
“Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia. Look at India, it’s so filthy, the air is filthy,” the American president had said.
“The Paris accord I took us out because we were going to have to spend trillions of dollars, and we were treated very unfairly when they put us in there, they did us a great disservice,” he had added.
Indian Americans and surrogates of the Biden campaign had responded angrily at the time. “His rhetoric has proven time and time again that he has disdain for India, as well as for people who draw their heritage from South Asia,” South Asians for Biden, a group of backers and surrogates, said in a tweet.
A congressional aide who spoke on background had said it was a “bizarre comment from a president who is trying to court India as a key part of his national security strategy in the Indo-Pacific”. And it was “oddly timed, especially when his secretary of state and defence (Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper) are headed to India next week to meet with their Indian counterparts”. The aide was referring to the 2+2 ministerial dialogue in New Delhi on October 27.
Indian Americans have been courted in this election like never before. Both the Biden and Trump campaigns have reached out to the community extensively, each arguing they would be better shepherds of the bilateral relationship with India.
There are an estimated 1.9 million eligible Indian American voters. A recent poll of the community showed an overwhelming 72% of them will vote for Biden and 22% for Trump (an earlier survey with smaller sample size was more generous to Trump — 28% to vote for him, 66% for Biden).