Even as the world watched Donald Trump supporters storm the US Capitol on January 6, a video of a lone Indian tricolour being waved among a sea of USA, Trump and MAGA flags became a talking point on Indian social media.
BJP MP Varun Gandhi was among those who were against the Indian tricolour being waved at the Capitol. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor replied to Gandhi stating that some Indians share Trump's ideology.
The man who waved the Indian flag has been identified as Vincent Xavier, an expat Malayali who lives in Virginia. In a reply to Gandhi and Tharoor, Xavier defended his actions stating the Americans' of other origins also support Trump and believe that the election was a fraud.
Who is Vincent Xavier?
Vincent Xavier, who also goes by Vinson Palathingal, is an Indian-American who lives in Fairfax, Virginia. Originally from Vembanad in Ernakulam, Vincent migrated to the US in 1992 when he was accepted at University of Reno for a masters degree in Civil Engineering.
Xavier founded Amaram Technology, an IT services company in 1998 and an export company called Amsco Global (American Merchandise Supply Company) in 2011.
Xavier is a Donald Trump supporter and aligns himself with the conservative Republican party and is a member of the Fairfax GOP. Like many Republicans, Xavier is a supporter of the 2nd Amendment which grants US citizens right to bear arms and is also against socialism.
Xavier maintains an active social media presence and shares many Trumpian and Republican talking points. In 2019, Xavier stood for elections for the Fairfax County School Board with Republican support and polled 10.8% of the votes in a losing cause.
He is a prominent member of the Malayali expat community in the US and has been invited on local Indian news channels for debates. He started Indo-American Center, a think-tank which focuses on strengthening Indo-US ties. Xavier served as the vice-president of the Federation of Malayalee Associations of Americas from 2014 to 2016.
In a Facebook post, Xavier claimed that he has been appointed by Trump to be a Member of the President's Export Council and shared a photo of a commission certificate. Trump had also announced his intent to nominate Xavier to the post in September. However, as of January 8, 2021, the Export Council's website does not include Xavier among its member.
Was he at the US Capitol on January 6?
Vincent has been a vocal supporter of Donald Trump and like the president, believes that the 2020 US Elections were fraudulent. Xavier has also clicked pictures with Shiva Ayyadurai, a prominent figure in the "Stop the Steal" faction. Ayyadurai claims to be the inventor of the e-mail and ran in the 2020 US GOP Primary Elections for the US Senate seat from Massachusetts.
Vincent had also shared videos on his Facebook profile from the US Capitol which he has since deleted.
In a now deleted Facebook post, Xavier defended the protest saying that the actions of "50 or so lawless people" should not be an excuse to "throw the million-plus peaceful protestors under the bus".
"I consider President Donald J Trump as a tool afforded to American patriots by him, to start the cleaning up of the fraud prone system in many states. If he had conceded, that is the end of the discussion. Then the Democrat fraudsters will ensure that US will slowly move to a one party system by stealing every election in the future. He didn't do that in spite of tremendous pressure. That's why I am thankful to President Donald J Trump," he further said in the post.
In an interview with News18, Xavier defended his decision to wave the Indian tricolour at the protest stating that the media is painting the protest as a riot. When asked what he thinks about Indians being against his actions, Xavier shot back at the anchor stating that he didn't believe her claims and that she "made up" the claims.
He also echoed the claim made by Trump supporters that the rioters who broke into the Capitol were "planted" and not true Trump supporters. He also attacked the media for supposedly not being fair to Trump supporters and Republicans.
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