Amidst the fervour of Diwali festivities, US President Donald Trump celebrated the festival of lights in the Oval Office of the White House along with senior Indian-American members of the administration, including cabinet ranking Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the UN and Seema Verma, administrator of centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service, among other community leaders, PTI reported.
Ajit Pai, Chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission and Raj Shah, his Principal Deputy Press Secretary, were among those from his administration present.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump also joined the President for the Diwali celebrations.
Last year Ivanka, who is now a Presidential advisor, had visited Hindu temples in Virginia and Florida as part of Diwali. Trump, then as the Republican Presidential nominee, had addressed the Indian-American community from a public meeting in New Jersey where he lit the traditional 'diya'.
The tradition of Diwali celebration was first started by former President George Bush. During his term, it was celebrated mostly in the India Treaty Room of the adjacent executive office building, which is a part of the White House Complex.
Bush never personally participated in the White House Diwali celebrations. In the first year of his Presidency, his successor Barack Obama lit the ceremonial Diya in the East Room of the White House. Thereafter, he made it a point in celebrating the festival of lights in one way or the other.