Dem Lawmaker Gives Inauguration Tickets To 25 High Schoolers Even Though He Is Boycotting Event

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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A Democratic congressman from Texas who announced this week that he is boycotting Donald Trump’s inauguration is giving tickets to 25 high school students from his district to attend the event.

It’s a curious move for Filemon Vela, especially given that he claimed on Thursday that students from his district were harassed and spit on by a group of Trump supporters during a visit to Washington, D.C. this week.

It is not clear if the students who were allegedly harassed are the same students Vela is helping attend Trump’s inauguration. Vela’s office has stopped responding to requests for more information about the incident. (RELATED: Texas Congressman Says Trump Supporters Harassed Migrant Students During Washington DC Visit)

Vela cited two reasons on Thursday for his decision to join more than 60 other Democratic lawmakers in skipping Trump’s ceremony. He lamented that Trump did not choose a Hispanic person to serve in his cabinet. He also said that he could not attend because a group of students from his district were harassed and called “beaners,” “burritos,” and “wetbacks” on a visit this week to Washington, D.C. One student was even spit on, he claimed.

But details about that incident are vague. Mickaela Carter, Vela’s communications director, did tell The Daily Caller on Thursday that the incident allegedly occurred during a conference that the students were attending with other students. She also said that the students informed Vela about the incident during a visit to his congressional offices.

But questions about details of the incident, such as what school the students attend, remain unanswered. Carter has not responded to three follow-up requests for more information.

Vela’s provision of inauguration tickets was reported on Friday by the Valley Morning Star, a newspaper in Vela’s district in southern Texas.

The newspaper reported that 25 high school students from Rio Hondo are visiting Washington, D.C. this week and that Vela provided them with tickets to the event.

According to the newspaper, the students arrived in Washington on Wednesday and will leave on Saturday. While it would seem that the Rio Hondo students are the same ones referred to by Vela, it has not been verified that they are. The article makes no mention of an incident similar to what Vela described on Thursday.

The superintendent for Rio Hondo schools, who is chaperoning the visit, did not return an emailed request for comment.

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