Trump celebrates Cinco de Mayo and ‘significant contributions of Mexican Americans’ to US

Trump celebrates Cinco de Mayo and ‘significant contributions of Mexican Americans’ to US

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAl Gore: Trump has had 'less of an impact on environment so far than I feared' Trump claims tapes of him saying the 'n-word' don't exist Trump wanted to require staffers to get permission before writing books: report MORE marked Cinco de Mayo on Saturday by hailing "the significant contributions of Mexican Americans to the United States."

"Today, we honor the heritage of our neighbors to the south, and we celebrate the significant contributions of Mexican Americans to the United States," Trump said in a statement.

The statement also recounted the Battle of Puebla, the 1862 confrontation between the Mexican Army and the French Empire that Cinco De Mayo memorializes.

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"Though they were outnumbered and facing one of the strongest militaries in the world, the determined Mexican soldiers overcame the French force and proved their place in history as valiant defenders of Mexico’s liberty and right to self-government," Trump said.

"Melania joins me in sending our best wishes for an enjoyable day. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!"

The statement echoed Trump's comments last year, when he said that the U.S. honored "the Mexican-Americans whose fighting spirit and patriotism have been influential in shaping the character of our great Nation."

A year before that, as a presidential candidate, Trump marked the annual celebration by proclaiming his love for Hispanics and taking a photo of himself eating a taco bowl in his office at Trump Tower.

"Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!" he tweeted at the time.

Trump has a controversial record on Mexico and people of Mexican heritage. He launched his presidential campaign in 2016 by accusing Mexico of "sending people that have lots of problems" to the U.S., and has repeatedly vowed to build a border wall between the two countries.