Washington: US President Joe Biden recognised the incredible contribution of the Indian American community when last week during an interaction with NASA scientists involved in the Mars mission he said that people of Indian descent were taking over the country, his spokesperson said Thursday.
“I’ll first say that the president was just recognising and honouring and valuing our –this was his intention — the incredible contribution of Indian-Americans to science,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference.
She was responding to a question on the remarks by Biden last week when he said that Indian Americans are taking over the country.
“Indian-of-descent Americans (sic) are taking over the country. You (Swati Mohan), my vice president (Kamala Harris), my speech writer (Vinay Reddy),” Biden said in a virtual interaction with NASA scientists who were involved in the historic landing of Perseverance at Mars.
Indian American scientist Swati Mohan leads the guidance, navigation, and control operations of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission.
“He (Biden) was speaking to an Indian American woman who is, of course, a scientist and an important part of the NASA team. And he also was, of course, recognizing the incredible contribution of his own vice president,” Psaki said.
“He just believes that it was a reflection of his belief that Indian-Americans could make a great contribution to the fabric of society, whether it’s science or education or the government. And that was what he was trying to convey,” the White House Press Secretary said.
Biden, who was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on January 20, has created history by appointing at least 58 Indian Americans to key positions in his administration. This does not include Vice President Kamala Harris, which is an elected position, and Neera Tanden, who a day earlier withdrew her nomination from the position of Director of White House Office of Management and Budget.
Nearly half of them are women and a sizable number of them are working in the White House. So far, the Obama-Biden administration (2009-2017) has the distinction of appointing the largest number of Indian-Americans in any administration, but the previous Donald Trump administration was not far behind as it appointed the first ever Indian-American with a cabinet rank and inside the National Security Council. (PTI)
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