President Donald Trump stumbled over several Indian words during his first public address in the country. Trump appeared at a massive gathering where he followed a speech by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, but after mispronouncing word after word, the crowd eventually began to filter out of the rally in Gujarat.
According to the BBC, the president referred to ancient Hindu texts known as Vedas, “Vestas.” He also mispronounced the name of the city where the rally took place – Ahmedabad – and the name of the Indian thinker Swami Vivekananda, who is admired by Modi. He referred to the later as Vivekamanan.
Trump also butchered the names of India’s beloved cricket stars.
“Namaste,” he began his speech before referring to the cricket stars, including Sachin Tendulkar, and Indian icons throughout history.
BBC News India tracked the language slips throughout the speech.
Trump also praised Modi.
“Everybody loves him but I will tell you this, he is very tough. You are not just the pride of Gujarat, you are living proof that with hard work, Indians can accomplish anything they want,” he said.
The president praised the country while speaking to the massive crowd, which was held at a 100,000 seat Motera cricket stadium that was filled to capacity. But mid-way through his speech, some people began leaving.
Trump ended his speech as the crowds continued to leave as cameras panning across the stadium show masses up people filtering out.
“God bless India, God bless the United States of America – we love you, we love you very much,” he concluded.
The BBC reports that while the crowd was respectful of the president, the biggest cheers were reserved for the prime minister, who hails from the town.
“I’ve been to rallies for both leaders – and while there was an energy as the two political rock stars headlined the same event, it lacked much of the excitement of their solo appearances,” reported BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan.
— Aleem Maqbool (@AleemMaqbool) February 24, 2020
Trump and his wife Melania received a warm welcome in the country after arriving in Gujarat. He was greeted by a crowd of tens of thousands and was treated to a display featuring dancers dressed in costumes. The couple also made a stop to the Taj Mahal.
The American leader is on a 36-hour tour of the country, and though no deals are expected to be made, the event is hoped to help solidify the important relationship between the two countries.
Back home, the president is facing scrutiny after claims that his administration has been failing to properly handle important documents came to light.