Pence at Cinco de Mayo party: Trump has made Latinos 'a priority'
© Getty Images

Vice President Pence said Thursday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'Haven't thought about' pardons for Mueller target Pence: Rocket attack 'proves that Hamas is not a partner for peace' Conservation remains a core conservative principle MORE has made the Latino community "a priority" while emphasizing the contributions to the country of Hispanic-Americans during an event marking Cinco de Mayo.

During a reception at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House, Pence highlighted the "many contributions to the life of this nation" from those with Mexican heritage.

"From the arts to the armed forces, from the sciences to sports, Mexican-Americans have made a lasting impact on our nation, and on our history books, and filled those history books with names of trailblazers," he said.


"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 during the ceremony, which was attended by Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, Mexican Ambassador Gerónimo Gutierrez and members of the Hispanic community.

"The president has made the Latino community a priority and we always will," Pence said, mentioning working with groups such as the Latino Coalition and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Trump's relationship with Mexico has been turbulent over his campaign pledge to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and force Mexico to pay for it.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called off a meeting with Trump earlier this year after Trump sent a series of tweets indicating he planned to move forward with his border wall proposal, including plans for Mexico to foot the bill.

As a candidate, Trump also raised eyebrows last year by sharing a photo on social media of himself eating a taco salad at Trump Tower to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

"Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!" Trump wrote in a tweet.

Pence on Thursday called Cinco de Mayo "a day defined by courage and sacrifice in the defense of freedom."

"I really think today — the president and I both do — of all Hispanic Americans and Mexican Americans who, every day for generations, have contributed to this nation, who have raised families, who have built communities, started businesses, added their voices and talents to making America great," he said.

"Economically, culturally, in our churches, our towns and cities across this country, the truth is that Mexican-Americans and Hispanic-Americans as a whole make a difference in America every single day. And that really is what we celebrate in Cinco de Mayo."