- The Washington Times - Friday, October 6, 2017

President Trump celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month at the White House Friday, telling guests that Hispanic-Americans are “a vital part of the fabric of this nation.”

“No matter who we are or where we come from, we are all Americans,” Mr. Trump said at a reception in the East Room.

The president also gave a plug for his tax-reform plan, saying it will help all U.S. citizens and business owners.

“Does anybody object to paying less taxes? I don’t see any hands,” Mr. Trump said.

He said Americans are praying for victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and of a devastating earthquake in Mexico.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who has feuded with Mr. Trump over his proposal to build a wall along the border, called to thank Mr. Trump on Thursday for the U.S. sending rescue and recovery crews after the Sept. 19th quake.

“The president was very gracious,” Mr. Trump said of his Mexican counterpart. “That earthquake was devastating. I appreciate the president of Mexico, and they [Mexicans] were so kind in their response. You have a wonderful president in Mexico, I can tell you that.”

Mr. Trump, who faced accusations of stoking racial divisions after a deadly white supremacist rally in August in Virginia, said the natural disasters have helped to bring Americans together.

“Through extremely difficult times, we’ve seen Americans coming together from all races and all backgrounds to unite as one people under God,” the president said.

He said the U.S. is “marshaling every federal resource at our disposal” to help Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands recover from the storms.

Noting that about 250,000 Hispanic-Americans serve in the U.S. military, Mr. Trump praised their commitment to American values.

“We are all Americans and bound together by this country and this flag,” he said.

There are 60 Medal of Honor recipients who are Hispanic Americans, and the president spotted one of them in the audience as he spoke.

“I want to shake hands with somebody,” the president said, stepping down from the podium and moving into the crowd to greet the veteran, who was not immediately identified.

“I heard you were here, I’m glad I got to meet you,” the president told the veteran.

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