Texas Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela claimed on Thursday that 40 migrant students from his district were harassed by a group of Trump supporters while visiting Washington, D.C. this week. And because of that, he is changing his mind about attending Trump’s inauguration on 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,” Vela said in a statement announcing his decision not to attend Friday’s event.
“While visiting Washington, DC, 40 migrant students from my district were subjected to comments of ‘beaners,’ ‘burritos,’ and ‘wetbacks’ from Inauguration attendees. One student was even spit on,” Vela said.
Vela’s communications director told The Daily Caller that the incident “occurred during a conference that the students were attending with other students.”
“Congressman Vela’s staff was informed of the incident during a scheduled visit to our D.C. Office by the South Texas students,” Mickeala Carter said.
More than 60 House Democrats are boycotting the inauguration. The movement was sparked last week after a war of words erupted between Trump and Georgia Rep. John Lewis. Lewis, a civil rights activist, said that Trump was an “illegitimate” president. Trump shot back that Lewis was a failed congressman.
As of Tuesday, Vela had plans to attend the ceremony. He said in an interview that even though he believes Trump is a racist, he planned to attend “out of respect for the institution” of the presidency.