A Cuban-American entrepreneur on Monday proposed an “American Heritage Month” during a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the White House.
President Donald Trump praised and introduced Irina Vilarino, whose father was a political prisoner in Cuba. She said that four years after her family was able to come to the United States in 1980, they opened Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine in 1984.
“It is a privilege to be here in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month,” Vilarino said. “And while I’m very proud of my origins, I am even prouder of what we have accomplished in this great country. This is why I propose we have an American Heritage Month.”
Vilarino added that “had it not been for the principles on which this country was founded… for its generous nature and that of its people, my family and millions that form our Cuban-American community in South Florida, I would not be telling this story here today. The story of white rice, black beans, and the American dream.”
Vilarino said her family now employees 400 workers in South Florida across 15 locations, and she credited America’s free-market principles that provide opportunities for Americans whether they are from Cuba, Cambodia, or Kansas. She also praised Trump for his tax cuts and eliminating “regulations that stifle upward mobility.”
“In order to preserve these opportunities for future generations, we must keep America great,” she said.
Trump said “America is winning again and Hispanic-owned businesses are leading the way.” He mentioned that the “Hispanic unemployment rate has recently reached an all-time historic low” and the “poverty rate for Hispanics reached an all-time historic low.”
“I better win the Hispanics the next time,” Trump said, pointing out that he did better than expected with Latino voters in 2016. “I don’t know how you beat that in an election.”
Trump concluded by noting that though America is home to people of every background, the nation is a melting pot and everyone is “part of one great American family.”
“America is home to people from many backgrounds with many different stories and hailing from every single walk of life. But we are all one people,” Trump said. “We are all part of one great American family. And we are all in this together, saluting one flag, singing one anthem, and pledging allegiance to one nation under God.”