Harmeet Dhillon persists in the race for Republican National Committee (RNC) chairwoman despite facing opposition regarding her Sikh faith.
The 54-year-old former California Republican Party co-chair and Indian American attorney’s law firm represents former President Donald Trump, and she served as a legal adviser to his 2020 presidential campaign. She is campaigning against current RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel for the position.
Supporters of Dhillon have reported some RNC committee members expressing concerns regarding Dhillon’s Sikh faith, reported Politico.
In a mass email addressed to Alabama’s Republican Party steering committee last week, Dhillon claimed that McDaniel’s supporters have discussed how her faith could potentially affect her “ability to champion our nation’s Judeo-Christian values that are encapsulated in our Party Platform,” reported NBC News.
Although she did not directly comment on her Sikh faith in the email, Dhillon drew attention to the importance of religious liberty to the Founding Fathers, pointing out its appearance in the very first amendment of the Bill of Rights.
The Alabama GOP was surprised to receive the letter, a spokesperson for the steering committee told Advance Local, revealing that the committee “had not heard anything about her faith or an issue with it.”
Dhillon wrote in a Twitter thread on Monday that she received several threatening messages from McDaniel’s supporters.
She then addressed her stance on the issue, stating:
Upon receiving threatening tweets on Monday, Dhillon was forced to firmly address her stance on the issue, stating:
To be very clear, no amount of threats to me or my team, or bigoted attacks on my faith traceable directly to associates of the chair, will deter me from advancing positive change at the RNC, which includes new standards of accountability, transparency, integrity, and decency.
3/ To be very clear, no amount of threats to me or my team, or bigoted attacks on my faith traceable directly to associates of the chair, will deter me from advancing positive change at the RNC, which includes new standards of accountability, transparency, integrity, and decency.
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) January 17, 2023
McDaniel, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, responded by telling Politico, “As a member of a minority faith myself, I would never condone such attacks. I have vowed to run a positive campaign and will continue to do so.”
Not only are the attacks allegedly coming from supporters of McDaniel, but also from supporters of Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow, who is running for committee chair as well.
In an email sent to an RNC member, a supporter of Lindell wrote, “She is an Indian Sikh by birth and heritage, Not of Judeo-Christian worldview,” in reference to Dhillon.
“None of these core character positions aligns with the Republican Party Platform, planks, or conservatism in general,” the sender continued, encouraging the member to instead endorse Lindell, an “ardent Christian conservative.”
Dhillon told Politico that these attacks against her faith have been “hurtful,” stating that these RNC members are questioning her aptitude to fill the position by using her “devout Sikh faith as a weapon” against her.
Dhillon, whose Sikh immigrant family left India in search of better opportunities, says that she was raised in a religious household, expressing that her religion was “very central to [her] life from day one.”
Previously, she delivered a Sikh prayer at the 2016 Republican National convention, first singing in Punjabi and then translating to English.
The RNC chairperson election will be held on Jan. 27.