Hindu-American emerges as Trump mega-donor

Hindu-American emerges as Trump mega-donor
© Jonathan Swan

CLEVELAND — A Hindu-American industrialist has emerged as one of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump trolling of Comey — Not presidential OPINION: CNN shines in 'Russian Connection' special Dem lawmaker launches petition to block deportation of 9/11 recovery worker MORE’s biggest financial backers, saying his support for Trump proves the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is not a racist. 

“A lot of people think that Trump is somewhat of a racist," said Shalabh "Shalli" Kumar, a Chicago-based businessman and Republican donor. 

“His partnership with the Republican Hindu Coalition will set that aside.” 

India-born Kumar, founder and head of the Republican Hindu Coalition, is one of only a handful of donors in the country to contribute what Trump fundraisers colloquially call the “double max” — the holy grail of campaign fundraising in the 2016 cycle. 

Kumar is sending $898,800 to Trump Victory, the joint fundraising arrangement between the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and 11 state parties. The Republican Hindu Coalition, as a non-profit entity, is not coordinating with the Trump campaign but is generally supportive of Trump. 

While the individual maximum donation is $449,400, the “double max” is when fundraisers find a wealthy donor who will also give the maximum contribution in the name of his wife, as Kumar has done. 

Kumar whose company AVG Advanced Technologies manufactures and sells electronics products, flew in from India on Saturday morning and went straight to the Hamptons to meet with Trump at a mansion there. 

He said he was so impressed by Trump — it was the first time the two had met — that by Saturday afternoon Kumar had wired $449,400 to Trump Victory. A matching check from Kumar’s wife will be sent on Wednesday. 

“That’s just a start. That’s the seed money,” Kumar told The Hill in an interview at Cleveland’s tony Renaissance Hotel during the first day of the Republican National Convention on Monday. 

During their meeting, Kumar was especially won over by Trump’s tough words for Pakistan, India’s neighbor and nemesis; and the businessman praised Trump’s views on Muslim profiling. 

“The way the Muslim religion is being practiced today — it’s not the religion but the way it is being practiced today — there’s something wrong,” Kumar said. 

“The policy setting is that we need to have a lot of scrutiny. I totally agree with [former Speaker] Newt Gingrich [R-Ga.]: Mosques should be monitored completely, vetting should be taking place. ... I am totally for profiling. If you need to profile, what is the fuss?

“He has to do whatever [it takes] and he is the strongest that has come about in the last 45 years. … On national defense, he will be stronger than Reagan,” Kumar added.

Trump told Kumar in their meeting that Pakistan cannot be trusted as a U.S. ally, and he talked about how Osama bin Laden was housed on Pakistani soil when he was found and killed by U.S. forces. 

Trump impressed Kumar further by telling him he wanted to strengthen the U.S.-India relationship and improve trade between the countries to counteract the rise of China. 

The Trump campaign didn’t respond to questions about his meeting with Kumar. 

Kumar was already sold on supporting Trump before he met the presumptive GOP nominee, but he had a few lingering concerns that he wanted to iron out in a one-on-one meeting. 

“His positions were not very clear. Sometimes he says off-the-cuff remarks about call centers in India … so I was a little bit concerned about that,” Kumar said. 

Kumar was referring to Trump’s campaign trail wisecrack about Indian call center workers and Trump’s use of a mock Indian accent

While Kumar didn’t bring up the call center mocking in his conversation with Trump, he said he was reassured that Trump loves India and the Indian people. 

“I have seen his heart,” Kumar said. 

“He indicated … that the 21st should be an Indo-American century.” 

Kumar has pledged to personally spend $2 million on Republican candidates this cycle.  

No super-PAC yet exists for that money, but “that is being organized,” Kumar said. 

Through his group, the Republican Hindu Coalition, which launched last November and held an event Tuesday morning in Cleveland to coincide with the convention, Kumar plans to raise another $10 million to help Republicans in vulnerable swing seats, including Sens. Rob PortmanRob PortmanCapitol Police arrest 40 during healthcare protests GOP governors could help bring down Senate health bill Overnight Healthcare: Senate delays ObamaCare vote past recess | Trump says GOP 'very close' to deal | Three more senators come out against bill MORE (Ohio), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteOPINION: Democracy will send ISIS to the same grave as communism Kelly Ayotte joins defense contractor's board of directors Week ahead: Comey firing dominates Washington MORE (N.H.) and Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonGOP senator: Dems should have been in healthcare process from start The Memo: Trump faces enormous test with healthcare bill Behind closed doors, tensions in the GOP MORE (Wis.). 

“There’s about 4 million [Indian-Americans] that should be very, very natural allies of the Republican Party and of Trump,” Kumar told The Hill.