US TV host Tomi Lahren's praise of Trump backfires in Hindi

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US conservative political commentator Tomi LahrenImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The conservative political commentator inadvertently translated the English phrase into an insult

American TV host Tomi Lahren may have accidently called US President Donald Trump an idiot in Hindi.

"President Trump is wise like an owl, or as you say in Hindi, wise like an ullu," she said translating the phrase into an insult.

In popular perception "ullu", the Hindi word for owl, has come to be associated with someone who's an idiot or not very bright.

The video, which has been widely shared, has amused social media users.

In Hindu religion, the owl is depicted as the carrier of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Many believe that the bird is associated with the divine.

They point out that the bird stands for stealth and wisdom, but in common parlance, owls are associated with foolishness or idiocy.

Ms Lahren, who is a conservative political commentator, rose to prominence during the 2016 US election for her provocative and energetic online political monologues.

She has millions of followers on Facebook and her videos often go viral.

In the latest video, Ms Lahren also expressed her gratitude towards the Indian diaspora for supporting President Trump's "Make America Great Again" agenda.

Since then, a comedian, Ali-Asghar Abedi told the BBC that he pranked Ms Lahren, using an app called Cameo which allows people to pay public and celebrity personalities to say anything they are told.

He told British online newspaper, Independent, that he "waged $85 (£65) that a prominent Trump supporter wouldn't bother researching exactly what 'ulloo' meant."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The video went viral on Twitter, with "ullu" reaching top trends on the micro-blogging site.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

According to media reports, Ms Lahren recorded the video on Tuesday and uploaded it on to her social media channels. However, it now appears to have been deleted, and she has not said anything on the issue since.

She did not immediately respond to queries from the BBC.

The video is being seen as an attempt to woo Indian-origin voters in the US, with the presidential elections scheduled for 3 November this year.

People of Indian origin, about 4.5 million of whom live in the US, are a growing political force in the country.

Most of them have usually voted for the Democrats. In 2016, only 16% of Indian Americans voted for Mr Trump, according to the National Asian American Survey.

Mr Trump has sought to court the Indian-American vote in the run-up to the 2020 election. In September last year, he appeared next to Indian PM Narendra Modi at a massive event in Houston, Texas, named "Howdy Modi", and declared: "You have never had a better friend as president than President Donald Trump."

And earlier this year he visited India, addressing a massive rally alongside Mr Modi in his home state of Gujarat.

Mr Trump's efforts in reaching out to India could help boost his numbers at the margins, say political commentators.