For 16 years, it has been a tradition for the president of the U.S. to host an annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. But this year, the White House is doing something a little different, opting instead to put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of scaled-down festivities and saying that President Donald Trump might not attend at all.
Instead of celebrating the holiday at the White House, Pence's event will feature a May 4 reception for the May 5 holiday in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which stands next to the White House, according to Politico.
The number of guests will be much smaller than in previous years, notes The Hill. In 2016, President Barack Obama had a 500-guest event that featured catered food and a Mexican pop group; Obama and previous President George W. Bush reportedly used the annual celebration to seek out connections with the Latino community and discuss immigration reform issues.
Trump caught a backlash on last year's holiday for posting a tweet wishing readers a happy Cinco de Mayo and proclaiming: "I love Hispanics!" He included a picture of himself smiling and giving a thumbs-up signal while eating a taco bowl.
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Many people criticized the tweet as out of touch or insensitive, particularly after he drew the ire of many in the Hispanic community by saying in his campaign announcement speech that undocumented Mexican immigrants are "rapists" and criminals who are "bringing drugs," while adding that "some … are good people."
"What do this taco bowl and Donald Trump have in common...?" one person commented on the president's 2016 Cinco de Mayo Facebook post, which also included the taco bowl picture. "There is nothing authentic about either of them."
"Nothing says presidential like complete ignorance!" said another, who pointed out that taco bowls are not Hispanic, and Cinco de Mayo is primarily celebrated by Americans. "This cannot be real life."
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Others defended Trump, with some of his supporters saying that they thought the social media post was "funny."
"Trump employs Hispanics, Blacks ~ all minorities, the other [2016 presidential candidates] promise you stuff and only want your vote," another person said. "You need to do some serious research."
This year, the president is laying low for the festivities. He is scheduled to meet with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in New York on May 4 to to commemorate the Battle of the Coral Sea, and a worker in Pence's office was unable to confirm whether the president will show up to the vice president's party, notes Politico.