Shortly after Laredo (Texas) Mayor Pete Saenz hosted presidential candidate Donald Trump during his visit Thursday near the border, he received a tweet calling him a sellout.
The scolding came from fellow Texan and fellow Mexican-American Rep. Joaquin Castro, who expressed disgust over the reception that Saenz and other Latino officials from Laredo gave to Trump, who launched his presidential campaign in June with a sweeping denunciation of Mexicans who come illegally, depicting them as rapists and murderers.
Castro, a Democrat who seldom gets publicly provocative, tweeted: “@MayorPeteSaenz Donald Trump just used you and the other council members to make him look good. Embarrassing for South Texas and Hispanics.”
Without directly addressing Trump’s controversial comments and views, Saenz introduced the business mogul with courteous remarks, saying he manages to create excitement with his appearances.
"We're excited to have Mr. Donald Trump here in Laredo, Texas,” Saenz said. “It's provided us an opportunity to present to Mr. Trump and his entourage what Laredo is all about…We appreciate all the attention, but we know the attention comes primarily through this gentleman here.”
Another official who spoke at the press conference, after Trump nudged him to the microphone, was City Manager Jesus Olivares, who said that Laredo did not need a wall – a contradiction to the Republican candidate's assertion that building a wall all along the U.S.-Mexican border is necessary to keep out illegal immigration.
Olivares also said that Laredo had a productive, cooperative relationship with the federal government in efforts to control the border, another contradiction to Trump's characterization of the Obama administration as negligent regarding immigration.
Earlier, Saenz wrote on his Facebook page: “Today our city will receive national attention with the visit from Donald Trump. I will use this opportunity to speak the truth to National media outlets about Laredo, which is that Laredo is a safe, welcoming community, poised for growth, with a beautiful culture. #LaredoProud”
Many people replied in agreement on the mayor’s page, saying they supported his decision to take the high road concerning the visit by Trump, which was sparked by an invitation by a local Border Patrol group that later announced it would not accompany him to the border, as it originally had planned.
“It was very smart from Mr. Saenz to take this opportunity positively,” wrote Anthony R. Galan, “and not follow the cheap route of other leaders from Laredo, that immediately criticized the visit, and now are attacking the mayor.”
“Neither the mayor nor the other officials were used by Trump. They did what they had to do as professionals and good politicians, for the benefit of Laredo.”
Others agreed with Castro, both on Twitter and the mayor’s Facebook page.
Colin Strother wrote on the mayor’s Facebook page before Trump’s appearance with Saenz: “Dignifying his visit with so much as a hand shake would be a huge mistake. He has hate in his heart for the border and Hispanics. Do not give him the honor of your presence.”