Jan. 24, 2017
English isn’t my first language (Punjabi is), but when I sat down in New Delhi to listen to U.S. President Donald Trump’s inaugural address, one sentence in his speech made my jaw drop.
I wasn’t alone. With me were a WASP Canadian, a former Wall Street Sikh banker who has taken up farming, a Columbia-educated Hindu environmental engineer and a Kashmiri pundit who is the assistant editor at India’s leading newspaper.
All of us looked at each other with that stare that says: “OH MY GOD! … What did he just say?”
We never expected to hear Trump’s words from any leader of the Western world, expressing sentiments that are usually uttered in hush-hush tones. Trump said: “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.”
Wow! After eight years of listening to Barack Obama and the rest of the world tip-toe around the elephant in the room, Trump had uttered the words “radical Islamic terrorism” on live television, in his first speech to the nation and the world as president.