The Trump campaign is running a new ad on Indian-American TV channels that will air 20 times a day in the lead-up to this weekend’s Hindu festival, Diwali. The spot includes footage of Trump speaking at the Republican Hindu Coalition, which was held earlier this month in New Jersey; a shot of a Mumbai terror attack from 2008; and a couple of seconds of Trump showing off his Hindi.
“Ab ki baar Trump sarkar,” he says. The line translates to “This time, a Trump government,” and it’s a direct nod to the slogan Indian prime minister Narendra Modi used in his campaign.
The BBC asked people walking around Delhi to review Trump’s Hindi, and they were not impressed. “This is so funny. He seems to have rehearsed the slogan many times, but he still didn’t sound convincing,” one woman said. “Are you sure this is not some spoof video?”
Indeed, it is not a spoof. Trump appears to see an ally among Indian Americans, whom he appealed to at the New Jersey event by talking tough on Muslims and praising Modi’s simplification of India’s tax code. “If I am elected president, the Indian and Hindu community will have a big friend in the White House,” he said.
That line drew cheers in a room full of Republicans, but it doesn’t seem to be reverberating throughout the rest of the country. A survey released earlier this month shows that Trump has the support of 7 percent of Indian-Americans. Hillary Clinton has 67 percent.