President Donald Trump posted a picture of himself on Twitter Nov. 14, 2020, surrounded by Indian-Americans, lighting a diya to celebrate Diwali at the White House.
Inscribed on the picture are the words, “Happy Diwali” and “President Donald J. Trump. Among those looking on is Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, on President Trump’s right. No one in the photo is observing social distancing or wearing masks.
President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris sent out a statement on Diwali from their Transition website Buildbackbetter.com, saying, “On behalf of our families, we wish a happy Diwali to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, and everyone celebrating the festival of lights across the United States, India, and the world.”
It went on to say, “Like so many cherished traditions during the pandemic, we know this year’s Diwali and its symbolizing of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and empathy over apathy arrives with a deeper meaning.
Our hearts go out to everyone who is ushering in this new year with the recent loss of a loved one, or who finds themselves fallen on hard times. Our prayers remain with everyone fighting the pandemic on the frontlines instead of staying safe at home in prayer with their families. And, we know the sadness of being apart on a day that truly signifies the blessing of family and friendship.
But Diwali is ultimately a reminder of the light that’s within us all to hope and dream, and to overcome our differences and keep the faith in each other. That’s the light we see shining on this day and that will guide us through the darkness with knowledge, science, truth, unity, and compassion.
And that’s why as Diwali is celebrated via video calls and while socially distanced this year, we look forward to celebrating Diwali at the White House next year — in person, together with you, and in a nation healed and united.”
Other official Diwali greetings came from the State Department on behalf of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.
The State Department posted a stock picture of lighted diyas with the words “Happy Diwali! We wish those observing the Festival of Lights a joyous and safe celebration. May this Diwali bring an abundance of happiness and light up lives. #DiwaliCCelebration2020”
Deputy Spokesperson of the State Department, Cale Brown tweeted, “Sending warm wishes to everyone celebrating the Festival of Lights as you commemorate this holiday through prayer, lighting diyas and lanterns, and feasts and other festivities. On behalf of the
@StateDept , we wish you a happy Diwali!”