President Donald Trump eschewed a 16-year precedent this week and opted not to host a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the White House. Instead, Trump spent Friday at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
According to Newsweek, 2017 marks the first time since 2001 that the President has not personally hosted a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the White House. President George W. Bush was the first to host the celebration at the White House, which traditionally invites Mexican artists, politicians and activists.
This year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration was held at the Eisenhower Executive Office building and was hosted by Vice President Mike Pence.
"We are, as the saying goes, with a few exceptions, a nation of immigrants, and that's as true today as it was at the hour of America's birth," Pence said, according to CNN. He also described the Battle of Puebla — the Mexican victory over the French which the holiday celebrates — as “a day defined by courage and sacrifice in the defense of freedom."
Many Mexican-American leaders took note of downgraded celebration.
"That the Cinco de Mayo reception has been kicked out of the White House and that the President will not even be attending the Plan B event at the EEOB is not the least bit surprising to us," National Council of La Raza President and CEO Janet Murguía said to CBS News in a statement. "But it is a pretty on the money symbol of where Latinos stand with this administration.”
President Trump’s relationship with the Mexican-American community has been rocky since he began his campaign for President. One of Trump’s key campaign promises was the expansion of a wall on the Mexican/American border, continually claiming that Mexico would pay for it.
Trump himself has not released a statement about Cinco de Mayo this year, but he has done so in the past. In 2016, Trump celebrated by tweeting a picture of himself eating a taco bowl with the caption “I love hispanics!”
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.