Donald Trump seems to inspire weird reactions and awkwardness just about everywhere he goes. Saturday’s rally for the American presidential candidate in New Jersey, organised by the Republican Hindu Coalition, lived up to this promise, mixing Prabhu Deva and Anupam Kher with dancing light-saber wielding terrorists. And then Trump said, “I love Hindu.”


But that wasn’t it for Donald Trump’s desi outreach. He also gave interviews to Indian news organisations, including one to Saurabh Shukla, editor-in-chief of Newsmobile, who was reporting on the event on behalf of TimesNow.


Shukla first tried to get Trump to say something about Pakistan – only managing to get a “they need to get along” quote from the otherwise pugilistic candidate. He then awkwardly brought up the recent allegations about sexual impropriety and even assault against Trump, which emerged in the aftermath of leaked audio tapes where the candidate discussed sexual assault.


The journalist certainly brought up the allegations but prefaced his question by saying Trump is a “real man.” Twice.


Here’s the transcript, where Trump says he thinks things are moving along “very nicely” after the allegations:


Q: Your rivals are trying to spin a lot of theories around you, and you are a real man, would you make sure as a real man, would you apologise to a lot of women who have gotten outraged by what may have happened earlier?


A: Well, I have discussed that, and I think that’s very much, you know we are doing very well in the polls. We are leading in many of the polls. One just came out where we are two points up. So I think that’s moving on very well.


Q: But saying sorry doesn’t really…


A: But I have really talked about that and it was locker room talk. Lots of people do it but I have already talked about that and I think we are moving along very nicely.


The interview also featured a cameo from Shalabh Kumar, the founding chairperson of the Republican Hindu Coalition, whom Shukla described as “Trump’s India man.” (Trump, himself, only said, “well he’s certainly a supporter.”)


In an interview before the New Jersey rally, Shukla spoke separately with Kumar, who also preferred to replace “elephant in the room” with a more dog-whistle phrase.


Q: What do you expect from this rally? 


A: “It will be the first time you have the candidate for the president of the United States, first time in the history of the United States, India, Hindu world itself, Hindu civilisation, coming to address the concerns, coming to address the Hindu Americans, Indian-Americans, three weeks prior to the election. That is a history in itself.”


Q: Why do Indian-Americans vote for Mr Trump?”


A: The policies. All conservative values. Hindu-Americans, conservative Americans have. Free enterprise, fiscal discipline, family values, and then really firm foreign policy, all those things are in line with Donald Trump, and he could see the camel in the room.


Q: Do you think he is going to very tough on terrorism from Pakistan?


A: That is the camel in the room.



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