By Hadas Gold
May 03, 2017
Vice President Mike Pence will host a Cinco de Mayo celebration on Thursday, keeping up a longstanding tradition some in the Hispanic community weren’t sure would continue in the Trump administration.
A reception will be held in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the building next door to the White House, on Thursday, the day before the holiday.
An official in Pence’s office said it’s unclear whether President Donald Trump, who marked Cinco de Mayo last year with a tweet about a taco bowl, will attend the White House celebration. Trump’s headed to New York City on Thursday to join Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at an event to mark the Battle of the Coral Sea aboard the USS Intrepid.
Some in the Hispanic community weren’t even sure a reception would take place, with at least two invitees saying they had not heard of any event until a few weeks ago. LIBRE, a group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers that aims to promote free-market ideas in Latino communities, said they received their invitation on Monday.
Trump has had tumultuous relationship with many in the Hispanic community since declaring as he launched his campaign in 2015 that undocumented immigrants crossing the border from Mexico were “rapists” and were bringing drugs and crime. His tweet last year celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a taco bowl at his Trump Tower office was criticized by some in the Latino activist community as insulting. Trump won around 29 percent of the Hispanic vote in the 2016 election.
Previous presidents like Barack Obama and George W. Bush have celebrated the Cinco de Mayo holiday nearly every year, usually with a reception in the East Room or the Rose Garden. The date commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France during the French-Mexican War. Presidents have often used the event to hail the Mexican-American relationship, contributions from Americans of Mexican heritage, and to talk about immigration.
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