- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 19, 2017

Rep. Filemon Vela claimed Thursday afternoon that dozens of migrant students visiting Washington, D.C., for the inauguration were called “beaners” and “wetbacks” by pro-Donald Trump attendees.

Mr. Vela, a Texas Democrat, issued a series of tweets explaining his decision for joining the growing number of Democrats boycotting the president-elect’s inauguration ceremony Friday.

“I had hoped that this Friday’s Inauguration would be a moment of healing and outreach … but yesterday, two days before the Inauguration, two things occurred that leave me no choice but to boycott the event,” he wrote.

“While in DC, 40 migrant students from TX34 were subjected to comments of ‘beaners,’ ‘burritos,’ and ‘wetbacks’ from Inauguration attendees,” tweeted Mr. Vela, who represents Texas’ predominantly Hispanic 34th district.

He then criticized lack of Hispanic representation in Mr. Trump’s cabinet picks.

“Then, @realDonaldTrump made his final cabinet selection, leading to no Hispanic representation in the cabinet for the 1st time in 36 yrs,” he tweeted. “Mr. Trump’s repeated acts of disrespect for the 33 million Americans of Hispanic descent are historic in modern times.

“The hope that his actions as President would not match his political rhetoric is becoming more and more of a distant dream,” he continued. “One would think that an American President in the 21st Century would be dedicated to eradicating racism once and for all.

“However, Mr. Trump has turned a blind eye to overt racism. Indeed, in many instances, Mr. Trump himself has stirred the seeds of bigotry,” he added. “This is an ominous sign for the future of the American Presidency and the United States of America.”

Mr. Vela joins roughly 60 House Democrats, or nearly one-third of the 194-member caucus, who plan not to attend the inauguration.

The congressman made his feelings toward Mr. Trump known during the Republican’s presidential campaign. In June, he penned a letter calling Mr. Trump a racist after the then-presumptive GOP nominee ignited a firestorm over his remarks regarding District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

“Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your [expletive],” Mr. Vela wrote at the time.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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