One of Donald Trump’s largest financial contributors is a suburban Chicago businessman many have never heard of. And he’s on a mission to change the Republican party in a way many would never expect.
Shalli Kumar, of Carol Stream, made his fortune in electronics. He has already contributed roughly $1 million to the Trump election effort.
“And there is another million dollars that I am committed to from the Kumar family, whatever under the law that is allowed,” he said.
Once a Democrat, Kumar credits Ronald Reagan with his political conversion. In 2015, he founded the Republican Hindu Coalition to back Trump, an effort he believes will help the party achieve greater diversity.
But along the way, he quickly discovered something about Republicans that set him on a unique mission.
“The Republican Party, for the most part, thinks with its brains, not with its heart,” he said. “So that is where the problem comes in.”
Kumar has since launched what he calls a hug campaign.
“I am teaching them,” he said. “A hug campaign.”
As part of his efforts, Kumar said he has already hugged Trump, and other big-name politicians.
“That’s my hallmark,” he said. “Trump, Newt Gingrich… I teach them hugging. Called Punjabi hug.”
He believes the campaign will help the party reach a broader scope of people.
And when it comes to the embrace, Kumar said both Trump and Gingrich are “good huggers.”