Sebastien De La Cruz, 15, also known as El Charro de Oro, sang the National Anthem before the Democratic presidential debate on March 9 (video below).
De La Cruz, a Hispanic teen born in the U.S., delivered a great performance, but also stirred outrage among many on Twitter.
According to RawStory.com, "some of the worst reactions" included these tweets:
"Could I go to a Presidential debate in Mexico dressed as Uncle Sam and sing the Mexican National Anthem?"
"CNN this is the dumbest thing I've quite possibly ever saw. For a minute I forgot I was in #America until they sang the national anthem."
"Wrong Univision to let a boy sing our national anthem with a charro outfit. I'm democratic and Hispano but that wasn't right"
"The Dem Debate hosted by Mexico, the National Anthem sung by little @marcorubio"
"Gawd - the guy who sung the national anthem looked like the Frito Bandito!!"
"CNN has topped a new low…mariachi singing the national anthem…for a US presidential debate…"
The Washington Post notes that De La Cruz also sang the National Anthem before Game 3 of the NBA finals in June 2013, which also brought a wave of racist insults and accusations of him living in the U.S. illegally.
“My father was actually in the [U.S.] Navy for a really long time,” De La Cruz told a San Antonio, Texas, news station at the time. “People don’t know; they just assume that I’m just Mexican. But I’m not from Mexico. I’m from San Antonio, born and raised, a true San Antonio Spurs fan.”
This time around, De La Cruz was invited to the debate by Univision, a Spanish-language cable channel that co-sponsored the event with The Washington Post.
“Sebastien’s presence is the vindication of an American child who is entitled to be proud of his Hispanic heritage,” Daniel Coronell, Executive VP/Executive Director of News at Univision, told The Washington Post. “It’s also a perfect metaphor of what we Latinos are in America.”