☷Remarks By President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at a Cinco De Mayo Reception
White House ( By Press Release office)
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4:47 P . M . EDTTHE FIRST LADY: Thank you . And welcome to the White House! ( Applause . ) AUDIENCE MEMBER: La Casa Blanca! ( Laughter . ) THE FIRST LADY: Yes!The Battle of Puebla , which Cinco de Mayo celebrates , lasted for only a single day . Defending the small town of central Mexico wasn’t a major strategic victory in the Franco - Mexican War . But the fact that a rag - tag group of soldiers , outnumbered 3 to 1 , could defeat Napoleon’s French Foreign Legion was a victory of the heart . ( Applause . ) It showed the determination and the backbone of the Mexican people . It inspired other cities to believe that they , too , could stand against the odds . And the reverberations of that battle traveled north to the United States . This holiday reminds us that the threads of our history and our heritage are woven together . We inspire one another . We shape each other . Our relationship with Mexico is special . And I’m so grateful to be joined today by the First Lady of Mexico — ( applause ) — Dr . Gutiérrez — Beatriz . From our love of poetry and literature to our shared passion to education , we have so much in common . You know , Joe always says that politics is personal , and I’m grateful to continue building our friendship . Actually , we already have plans for what we’re going to do next time we’re together . ( Laughter . ) THE PRESIDENT: Ooh . ( Laughs . ) THE FIRST LADY: I don’t know if you’re invited , Joe . ( Laughter . ) THE PRESIDENT: ( Laughs . ) Don’t think I am . THE FIRST LADY: ( Laughs . ) It’s not only our history that is tied to Mexico , but our future as well . We are stronger when we face the challenges of our modern world together . And when we recognize our shared heritage , we can better understand and celebrate the true beauty and diversity of America . A few years ago , at the National LULAC Conference , I met with a young group of Mexican Americans and other Latino leaders . They told me about the issues that were on their minds: education , climate change , healthcare , and jobs — just like anyone their age . But what struck me was that they said that they didn’t often feel seen or heard . And that touched my heart . Don’t we owe them better Since then , I’ve held conversations to hear from different generations of Latinos from across this country . And again and again , I’ve seen the unique gifts of this community — the common threads that tie us together . I’ve been reminded that our differences are precious and that our similarities infinite . The former Poet Laureate of the United States and a proud Chicano — did I say that right AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yeah!THE FIRST LADY: Okay . Oh , I should ask you . Juan Felipe Herrera once said: “Diversity really means becoming complete as human beings — all of us . We learn from each other . If you’re missing on that stage , [you] learn less . We all need to be on that stage . ” ( Applause . ) The White House — Casa Blanca — ( laughter ) — is the People’s House — your house . And the story of America is the story of you , the story of all of us . So , thank you for helping us celebrate our nation’s Mexican American heritage today . And Happy Cinco de Mayo! ( Applause . ) And now , my husband , your President , and mine: Joe Biden . ( Applause . ) AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you , Joe! We really do . ( Laughter . ) THE PRESIDENT: Well , I’m glad some woman in this crowd loves me . ( Laughter . ) Well , thank you , Jill . I’m honored to welcome all of you to the White House , especially our distinguished guest , the First Lady . I’m going to go down and say hi . ( Applause . ) ( The President shakes the hand of First Lady Gutiérrez Müller . ) THE PRESIDENT: Jill doesn’t let me get in these conversations , so I want to — ( laughter ) — And Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona . Where are you , Miguel ( Applause . ) THE FIRST LADY: Yeah , where is my Mig - —THE PRESIDENT: He’s here . There he is . He’s educating people in the back . There you go . THE FIRST LADY: Oh , hi! Hi , Miguel . Did you see Naomi too THE PRESIDENT: Did I —THE FIRST LADY: Naomi . THE PRESIDENT: I didn’t see Naomi . THE FIRST LADY: She’s over here . How can you miss her THE PRESIDENT: Well , I — I’ll tell you what — hi , Naomi . How are you That’s my granddaughter . My oldest — our oldest granddaughter and —THE FIRST LADY: And her fiancé . ( Applause . ) THE PRESIDENT: — and her — I can’t see . THE FIRST LADY: And Peter . THE PRESIDENT: And Peter . You all have to know all this , you know It’s really important . ( Laughter . ) Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland . Where’s Deb ( Applause . ) She’s here . Deb , thank you . Thank you , thank you , thank you . And one of my best buddies when we served together and , I think , probably one of the best ambassadors we’ve ever had to Mexico or anywhere else: Ken Salazar . ( Applause . ) Madam First Lady , we were campaigning — and this is off - script here , I know — but we were campaigning when I was seeking the vice presidency with President Obama , and we were in western — eastern Colorado . And we were about to walk out , and we were at a beautiful renovated railroad station and a railroad that is no longer functioned as a interstate railroad , but it was magnificent . And he kept telling me — he said , “Now , look , Joe , there’s a couple of thousand people across the track . ” And he said , “They’re Latinos , so you got to be get - — you got to be — you got to be respectful . ” And I’m like , “I’m not going to respectful ” And — and I said — he said , “And you don’t understand about — about prejudice . You don’t unders - — you don’t get it . ” And I listened to him and listened . And finally — then he pointed out — he said , “Look , my family has been here 400 years . ” And I said , “Well , mine has not been here that long . I don’t think there’s any — anywhere…” — anyway , so , we talked a little bit longer . And he kept talking about , “Be careful . ” Remember this In this beautifully renovated station . I mean , it was gorgeous . And it was about the size of — I don’t know — it’s is from here to the far hedge , and about halfway into the crowd — about 30 , 40 feet wide . And there was nothing in there except there was linden wallpaper . And there were these brass plaques about every six or eight feet around the entirety of the — of the reception room . And I said , “I think…” — I said , “I genuinely understand . ” He said , “No . ” I said — I turn , I said , “Take a look what they say . It says , ‘No Irish allowed . ' ” ( Laughter . ) “No Irish allowed , ” because it was renovated to exactly what it was in 1869 . So , I don’t really know , but anyway , I just wanted to remind —But , Ken , you’re one of the best ambassadors I think we have anywhere in the world . ( Applause . ) You know , along with all the mayors — how many mayors are here today — American mayors ( Applause . ) THE FIRST LADY: Wow . THE PRESIDENT: All right . And how many diplomats are here from various parts of the world ( Applause . ) You can raise your hand . It’s okay . You don’t want to be seen . It’s like , “You know , I don’t know . ” I’m not sure he wants to — you know . And how many advocates and community leaders are here ( Applause . ) All right . AUDIENCE MEMBER: Teachers!THE PRESIDENT: Oh , teachers . I — you know , I sleep with a teacher every night . ( Laughter . ) Same one . The same one . ( Laughter . ) If I didn’t like teachers , I’d be sleeping alone . ( Laughter . ) I’d be —THE FIRST LADY: You’re a teacher too . THE PRESIDENT: — in a different place . As Jill said: Cinco de Mayo is a day to celebrate freedom and resilience , and , you know , it’s also day to celebrate friendship . And President López Obrador , when — he was kind enough to come up and see me here in the Oval and the White House in November . And he pointed to a patriot — a — excuse me , a portrait over the mantle of the — of the — in the White House , in the Oval Office . And it’s a picture of — it’s a big portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt hanging on the wall . And he told me that he liked Roosevelt because he was the President who initiated the Good Neighbor Policy between our two nations . We talked about that for a while . And I told him that today the United States and Mexico are more than good neighbors; we’re genuine , true friends , partners . And there’s an unshakable bond strengthened by mutual respect and our shared commitment to the prosperity and security of both our nations . It’s not our backyard; it’s our front yard . Thank you very much , MadamPresident [First Lady] . ( Applause . ) Those bonds are further strengthened by our shared history and heritage — culture , pride , and countless contributions of Mexican Americans , and the heritage and culture of an essential part of the American culture . It’s just — it’s just part of American culture . And that’s why I made it a priority to build a government that looks like America , including the most diverse Cabinet ever assembled — including , by the way , two Mexican Americans: Xavier Becerra , as — ( applause ) — the Department of Health and Human Services , as well as Isabel Guzman , who is leading the Small Business Administration . ( Applause . ) And many , many more folks throughout the administration . Beyond — beyond representation , we’re also focused on delivering results for Latino families . Through the American Rescue Plan , our vaccination effort and our — was centered on equity and ensured that Latinos were vaccinated at the same rate everyone else was . As a matter of fact , they’re vaccinated at a slightly higher rate than everyone else was . And to make sure relief checks were delivered to 1 , 400 , 000 spouses and nearly 3 , 700 , 000 children of mixed status families where mom or dad is a citizen . Because every family deserves food on the table , a roof over their head , and a little breathing room . We cut the Latino child poverty rate by an estimated 40 percent because of the Child Tax Credit . ( Applause . ) And we surged funding to community health centers , which disproportionately serve Latino communities . And , by the way , I met last week at the White House with five incredible Latino entrepreneurs . They’re part of an amazing story — a boom of new small businesses in America . In America today , there are more new small businesses being created and small business creation — more jobs than ever before . And Latino entrepreneurs are leading the way , starting new businesses last year at the fastest rate in more than a decade — 23 percent faster than the pre - pandemic levels . The reason I mention this is it’s a big deal . The prosperity and jobs for Latino communities affects everybody . And we’re working to fix our immigration system as well . As I said — ( applause ) — it’s important . As I said in my State of the Union Address , we can secure our borders and keep lit the torch of liberty . On my first day in office , I sent an immigration bill to Congress that would provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants contributing to our economy . That’s — we are — we — you know , we are an immigrant nation . I mean , we — we litera - — I mean , we say that , but people act like they don’t believe it . We are an immigrant na - — and that is our strength . That is our strength . ( Applause . ) But if Congress won’t act on broader reform , let’s pass the bills that have bipartisan support — for DREAMers and those Temporary Protected Status farm workers , essential workers . ( Applause . ) It’s not only the right thing to do but it’s , economically , the smart thing to do as well . And most of all , we’re going to continue to fight for the rights and opportunities and dignity of Mexican Americans and all Latinos in America . I might point out — and Jill and I talk about this: If we don’t get smart in this country , and the other team doesn’t understand what’s going on — you know , 25 out of every 100 children in grades kindergarten through senior in high school speak Spanish . Twenty - five out of every one hundred . It’s overwhelmingly in the interest not only of those kids , but of all Americans that we invest — we invest in the community . And we’ll conquer and honor and lift up all those folks who , in fact , are — have gotten in the way . You know , Mexican American culture is a great contribution for — to America . And soon we’ll also see the broader Latino community culture celebrated through the creation of the newest Smithsonian Museum — ( applause ) — the National Museum of the American Latino . It’s a big deal . And I look forward to seeing it take its rightful place here in Washington to help share the remarkable stories and incredible contributions our Latinos have contributed to this nation — the entire Latino community . And for now , though , let’s celebrate today . Let’s celebrate today . And I just want you to know — I can’t tell you how much we’re looking forward to this day . I’m glad it held off . Thank you , God . ( Laughter . ) But I hope — I hope you all have a good time today . And , again , Madam First Lady , you’re welcome here . And I want to take you in and show you my office too , if you’d come . Okay I’ll you show you Franklin Roosevelt , okay Well , thank you all . God bless you . And may God protect our troops . Thank you . ( Applause . ) 5:01 P . M . EDT
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