Cinco de Mayo Hit Job on Trump, Courtesy of Univision & Telemundo

Univision and Telemundo almost never miss a chance to pummel President Trump, so it comes as little surprise that both top domestic Spanish-language television networks made a big deal out of the fact that the President, on a day when he had three other major public events (National Day of Prayer, House passage of Obamacare repeal and replace and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Coral Sea), skipped this year’s White House Cinco de Mayo celebration.

 

At Univision in particular, White House correspondent Janet Rodríguez made a point of portraying the lower profile of this year’s event, which was hosted by Vice President Pence, as evidence of yet more alleged disrespect for Mexico and the U.S. Hispanic community. It also provided another convenient excuse for Univision to trot out its favorite, most repeated single quote by Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL ANNOUNCEMENT SPEECH: They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists…

JANET RODRIGUEZ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: And his constant attacks on Mexico and Hispanics, for many, demonstrate that there isn’t any necessity to celebrate with the Administration. Tomorrow, the day would be ignored here, at the White House, and it still remains to be seen if the President will make a statement from New York to commemorate the date. At the White House, Janet Rodríguez, Univision.

MARIA ELENA SALINAS, NEWS ANCHOR: It will not be the first tradition that is broken.

JORGE RAMOS, SENIOR NEWS ANCHOR: Taco bowl is not Mexican food. And by the way, the Spanish website of the White House does not exist yet.

Univision’s report was heavy on trivial details and digs at the President, such as the above, but entirely missed Vice President Pence’s substantive remarks about the administration’s immigration policy.

 

Specifically, the Vice President reiterated the President’s position that ‘real and positive immigration reform is possible’, adding “I can assure everyone here that as we move forward, we will, as the President said, in his words, ‘show great heart’ every step of the way.

 

It is also worth noting that Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States, Gerónimo Gutiérrez, who accompanied Pence and whose equally substantive remarks at the event went entirely unreported by Univision and Telemundo, did not give any indication that the celebration was somehow disrespectful or improper in any way.

 

While both networks made a big deal about the lower visibility of this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, neither Univision nor Telemundo included any coverage whatsoever in their principal national evening newscasts of the fact that after eight years of being banished from the White House by President Obama, President Trump on May 4 brought the National Day of Prayer celebration back to the White House, in a ceremony which included significant participation from several Latino leaders and pastors.

 

If Americans, including U.S. Latinos, were asked to choose which event - the National Day of Prayer or Cinco de Mayo - was more important to celebrate at the White House each year, no doubt most would choose, as President Trump did, the National Day of Prayer.

 

Among the Latino leaders at the ignored annual national faith-based event were Rev. Samuel Rodríguez and Lourdes Aguirre. Aguirre, in particular, helped mobilize last year a surprisingly strong Hispanic Christian vote for Trump in the battleground state of Florida. Nor did either Univision nor Telemundo mention the President’s welcome actions, in Evangelical and Catholic circles, to reverse previously hostile policies towards individuals and groups in both of those major U.S. faith communities.

 

Below are transcripts of the referenced reports, which aired on the May 4, 2017 edition of Noticiero Univision and the May 3 edition of Noticias Telemundo, respectively.

 

Noticiero Univision

 

MARIA ELENA SALINAS, NEWS ANCHOR, UNIVISION: Donald Trump will not celebrate Cinco de Mayo this year, when the Mexican victory over the French is commemorated as the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It will be the first time in 16 years that date is not celebrated at the White House. What will happen, as it has been in the past, is the celebration with the Vice President as the host.

Janet Rodriguez tells us why Trump does not plan to celebrate today or tomorrow.

JANET RODRÍGUEZ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: In a small meeting room in the Executive Building, the Vice President this afternoon led the Cinco de Mayo celebration. Pence said congratulatory words to a small group of select guests, including the two Latinos in the cabinet and Mexico's ambassador to the United States.

ALEX ACOSTA, SECRETARY OF LABOR: What a great pride for me and for, I believe, everyone who is here today, to be in this house, on this day, under this President.

JANET RODRÍGUEZ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: The great absentee in the celebration was President Donald Trump, who traveled to New York at the same time that the event was taking place.

ARIEL MOUTSATSOS, FORMER OFFICER, EMBASSY OF MEXICO IN WASHINGTON: The administration of Trump and of Vice President Pence decides to hold a decaffeinated celebration, let's say, on a day that is not even May 5, while President Trump is in New York. Well, I think it is one more slap in the face aside from all the ones he has already given us.

JANET RODRÍGUEZ, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: This is the first time in 16 years that the celebration of Cinco de Mayo is not carried out in the presidential mansion, and with the President in charge of the celebration. The tradition was started by Republican President George W. Bush, and since then, great stars have been present year after year. Last year, candidate Trump posted this photo on Twitter with a taco salad to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and to declare his love for Hispanics, he said, which offended more than one. And his constant attacks on Mexico and Hispanics,  for many show that there isn’t any necessity to celebrate with the Administration.

 

Tomorrow, the day would be ignored, here, at the White House, and it still remains to be seen if the president will make a statement from New York to commemorate the date.
At the White House, Janet Rodriguez, Univision.

MARIA ELENA SALINAS, NEWS ANCHOR: It will not be the first tradition that is broken.

 

JORGE RAMOS, SENIOR NEWS ANCHOR: Taco bowl is not Mexican food. And by the way, the Spanish website of the White House does not exist yet.

 

Noticias Telemundo

 

JOSE DÍAZ-BALART, NEWS ANCHOR, TELEMUNDO: Another symptom of President Trump's obsession: for the first time in 16 years, the President will not lead the Cinco de Mayo party at the White House; a party that has become a great celebration for many Latinos. Lori Montenegro tells us how the celebration will be this year.

LORI MONTENEGRO, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: To the rhythm of the group Mana, was celebrated the past Cinco de Mayo at the White House. But this year will be very different from the last 16, where the celebration has been big, the event will be smaller. It  will not take place in the presidential mansion, as was customary, and President Donald Trump, whose relationship with the Latino community is tense, could shine by his absence. In fact the invitation, which Telemundo obtained a copy of, was sent to the guests on Monday by the Office of Vice President Mike Pence. The meeting will be tomorrow in this building where Pence has his office. Failure to introduce Donald Trump to the celebration could be considered by some as another slap on the face to the Hispanic community, most of them of Mexican origin.

HECTOR SANCHEZ, PRES.NATIONAL HISPANIC LEADERSHIP: With this administration everything has been a constant lack of respect, and I repeat, we must celebrate our cultures every time we go (sic).

INTERVIEWEE: He is proving that he does not want to collaborate with Mexico and that he really doesn’t care.

 

LORI MONTENEGRO, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: The tradition began with Republican President George Bush in his first term. The Cinco de Mayo party had always been organized at large, with the White House inviting the Mexican ambassador, cabinet members and other important figures. Shortly after getting the Republican presidential nomination, Trump said he loved Hispanics and to demonstrate his affinity with the Mexican community, he was photographed this past May 5th, smiling in front of a Taco-bowl. But the President's positions on immigration have led many to say that there are no reasons to celebrate this Cinco de Mayo with the current administration. In Washington, Lori Montenegro, Noticias Telemundo.

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Ken Oliver
Ken Oliver
Ken Oliver is Director of MRC Latino. He is an award-winning journalist and former White House Director of Specialty Media
Valentina Humphrey
Valentina Humphrey
Valentina Humphrey is a News Analyst for MRC Latino