The president introduced Adrian Anzaldua during an event honouring members of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Custom and Border Protection (CBP), celebrating the border patrol agent for discovering 78 undocumented immigrants held inside a smuggler’s trailer.
"Adrian, come here, I want to ask you a question. So — how did you — Come here, c’mere," he began, as Mr Anzaldua made his way to the podium. "You’re not nervous, are you? Speaks perfect English! Come here."
Mr Anzaldua went on to shake the president’s hand and describe what happened when he located the group of migrants, saying, "I quickly asked for backup, and backup got there, and the subjects were transported back to...the checkpoint, and all of them were in good health".
However, by Tuesday morning, the focus did not appear to be on Mr Anzaldua’s actions, but rather Mr Trump’s comments regarding his fluency in the English language.
The praise was described as "offensive" and “derogatory” by Twitter users and political analysts, who also noted that the president repeatedly referred to the CBP as "CBC," which actually stands for the Congressional Black Caucus.
Mr Trump has repeatedly drawn backlash for his comments towards minorities and the Hispanic community.
He kicked off his 2016 presidential campaign by describing Mexicans who migrate to the US as “rapists” and "criminals," degraded a Mexican American judge and questioned his ability to serve in his role due to his heritage, along with a host of other controversial statements he’s made regarding other ethnicities.
"Between the constant references to 'CBC' and the weirdly patronizing comment about Anzaldua, the event left the distinct impression that the actual agents of ICE and CBP aren’t really the people Trump cares about," wrote Vox’s Dara Lind.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
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