Bidens welcomes Mexico’s first lady to Cinco de Mayo celebration

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden marked Cinco de Mayo Thursday by honoring the impact Mexican Americans and other immigrant communities have had in the United States as he threw a party at the White House with the first lady of Mexico as guest of honor.

Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, wife of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, joined Biden and first lady Jill Biden for the Rose Garden reception which included tables draped in orange, blue, lime green and other festive colors.

“We are an immigrant nation. We say this, but people act like they don’t believe it,” said Biden, who briefly left the podium to personally greet Gutiérrez Müller. “It’s our strength.”

The president has urged lawmakers to approve an immigration overhaul he sent to Congress his first week in office and which remains stalled. He said that if this measure is not passed, action could still be taken on smaller initiatives with bipartisan support, including the protection of those brought to the United States illegally as children.

About 100 attendees ate steak tacos, pork tamales, empanadas, ceviche, jicama salad and watermelon, and chocolate-dipped churros. Margaritas on the rocks, beer and other drinks were also served, while a chef mash avocados for guacamole in a large molcajete.

This day marks Mexico’s May 5, 1862 triumph over the French in the Battle of Puebla, where Mexican soldiers repelled Napoleon III’s forces despite being outnumbered. Cinco de Mayo has become more popular in the United States than it is in much of Mexico. This gives Mexican Americans a chance to celebrate Mexican heritage, but the day is also heavily promoted for commercial purposes by beer and snack companies.

“Our relationship with Mexico is special,” Jill Biden said, adding, “Joe always says politics is personal. And I’m grateful to continue to build our friendship.

US presidents from both parties have attempted to use Cinco de Mayo to celebrate the contributions of Mexican-Americans – a powerful and growing electoral bloc.

The exception was President Donald Trump, whose main campaign promise before his 2016 election promised to wall off the entire US-Mexico border. The 45th president has not attended Cinco de Mayo ceremonies, though he has issued statements, including one in 2018, that hailed “the significant contributions of Mexican Americans to the United States.”

Trump also tweeted about the holidays before he was banned from the social media site. As a candidate in 2016, he wrote that “I love Hispanics” while praising the taco bowls on the menu at the Trump Tower office building in Manhattan.

Last year, Biden commemorated the day by visiting a Washington taqueria that had benefited from the Biden administration’s program to help restaurants that have lost business because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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